Updated: Mar 23, 2021
Water is the body’s major chemical component and in our total body weight, about 50-70% is water. We need water to survive. Every day we lose water through breath, perspiration, urine, and bowel movements. For our body to function properly we must replenish its water supply by consuming enough water and foods that contain water. The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is about 3.7 of liters fluids a day for Men, about 2.7 liters of fluids a day for Women.
FACTORS AFFECTING WATER INTAKE
Fluid need in the body can be modified based on several factors:
● Exercise: If you do a heavy workout or exercise that makes you sweat, you need to drink extra water to balance the fluid loss. It’s very important to take fluid before, during, and after a workout.
● Where we live: The climatic condition where we live changes the fluid intake. If it’s hot or humid weather you need additional fluid. If it’s cold weather you need less fluid. Dehydration also occurs in high altitudes.
● Health: If you have an infection or fever, or if you have vomiting or diarrhea, you will need to drink more water. If you have health conditions like diabetes you will also need more water. Some medications like diuretics can also make you lose water.
● Diet: You need to drink more water if your diet is high in salty, spicy, or sugary foods, or if your diet doesn’t have more hydrating foods like fruits and vegetables you may need extra fluid.
● Pregnant or Breastfeeding: If you are pregnant or breastfeeding you’ll need to drink extra water to stay hydrated.
BENEFITS OF DRINKING WATER
● Helps to remove waste from our body through urine, stool, and sweat
● Help your body stay at a normal temperature, rather than overheating
● Help to lubricate and cushions joints
● Protect sensitive tissues
● Help with constipation
● Help prevent recurring Urinary tract and bladder infections
● Decrease the risk of Kidney stones
● Drinking enough water leads to better skin hydration SOURCES Water is not the only source to get hydrated. You can also get fluids through fresh fruits and vegetables. Sugary beverages will also hydrate you but the high-calorie content of sugary drinks increases weight and inflammation in the body and caffeine from coffee and tea in more amounts is not advisable. You also get water through liquid foods and beverages, such as soup, milk, tea, coffee, drinking water, and juices. Choosing the correct fluid is important.
HOW TO FIND YOU ARE DRINKING WATER ENOUGH
Maintaining water balance is essential for your survival. Your body knows how to balance its water levels and when to signal you to drink more. While thirst may be a reliable indicator of dehydration, relying on feeling thirsty may not be adequate for optimal health or exercise performance. Your water intake differs with your health condition. If you are diabetic or if you have renal issues your water intake differs with your health stage. For a healthy individual also fluid intake differs from their daily activity and performance.
Dehydration is caused due to inadequate water intake. Common causes include excessive sweating, vomiting, and diarrhea. Symptoms include: fatigue, dry mouth, increased thirst, decreased urination, etc., Untreated dehydration can lead to life-threatening complications, such as heat exhaustion, heat cramps, heatstroke, low blood volume. To prevent dehydration increase your fluid intake, especially if you are vomiting or having diarrhea. If you’re going to exercise, drink before, during, and after exercise.
This rarely occurs in a normal individual, although common in sportspersons. It is an imbalance of fluids. It happens when your body takes or holds on to more fluid than your kidneys can remove. Symptoms of overhydration include nausea and vomiting, headache, changes in mental state such as confusion or disorientation. Untreated over hydration leads to muscle weakness, unconsciousness, seizures, and coma. Overhydration leads to hyponatremia, a decrease in sodium level in the body.