how much water should you drink daily: water is essential for good health, however, needs to vary from person to person. These guidelines can help you ensure that you drink enough fluids.
It is no secret that we need water to keep us hydrated and healthy. And it is that our bodies are made up of 60% of water that we constantly lose through sweat and urine.
For this reason, it is not surprising that we constantly hear recommendations about the amount of water we should drink per day. Some people advise drinking about two liters of water a day, others bet on three. There are also those who measure it in glasses, around eight. There are even voices that say we should drink water all day, even when we are not thirsty.
But what of all this is true? How many liters of water should we drink each day and why is it important to do so?
The amount depends on many factors
The size of the person determines the amount of water to drink (JPM / Getty)
No matter how many recommendations are made, the truth is that there is a rule about the amount of water to drink. And this depends on factors such as the person’s body size or the amount of physical activity they do.
“One milliliter for each kilocalorie of energy consumed” . The expert explains that this is equivalent to about 35 milliliters per kilo of weight . For example, if a person weighs 60 kilos they should ingest about 2,100 liters of liquid per day and if they weigh 80 kilos, the amount will be around 2,800 liters.
Solid foods provide about 750 milliliters of fluid to the body “
However, this does not mean that we should spend our days refilling and drinking liter bottles of water. And it is that, in addition to the water we drink, the body receives other contributions of liquid that also keep it hydrated.
” Solid foods also provide fluid to the body, around 750 milliliters, and the metabolism of food also provides fluid, between 200 and 300 milliliters” indicates González.
Based on these factors, “some countries make recommendations that are normally around one and a half liters of water, ”
It is not good to drink too much or too little
Why is it important to know how many liters of water per day to consume?
Knowing how to calculate how many liters of water a day we should consume is giving our body the importance it deserves based on our health and life, just to cite one example: did you know that thanks to water we can eliminate waste through urine? Did you know that water also helps your body maintain a balanced temperature?
Did you also know that water is lost every day through breathing , sweat, urine and bowel movements, for the body to function properly? That is why you have to replenish the water supply through the consumption of drinks and food that contain it.
Many times we are unconcerned and ignore drinking fluids, which opens a door of opportunities to fall into dehydration, a condition that occurs when the body does not have enough water to carry out its normal functions, without going to extremes, a mild dehydration takes away our energy and makes us feel tired.
To know when and how much we should drink, “the body has a regulatory mechanism which is thirst, ” adds González. Going over or falling short implies problems for our health.
“The problem that we drink too much water is that we can dilute ourselves,” says the expert. And, as she explains, “we have a constant concentration of substances that the body regulates so that there are no problems. If we drink too much the body will not be able to regulate them ”. The consequence of overdoing it is that excess fluid penetrates our cells and dilutes its components, “which produces hypothermia and mortal risk.”
Otherwise, drinking too little will make us dehydrated . By not receiving the necessary amount of fluids, our body will begin to show certain signs such as thirst, a dry mouth, darker urine or a headache.
So … how many liters of water a day should I drink?
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine determined that, for an average and healthy adult living in a temperate climate, the consumption of liters of water per day is as follows :
- Men: About 15 1/2 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids.
- Women: About 11 1/2 cups (2.7 liters) of liquids.
The answers of different medical investigations vary, many of us know the usual rule of 8 glasses of 225 ml per day (almost 2 liters), but a more exact measure has been established by the Institute of Medicine of the United States, which recommends an adequate intake (AI) for healthy adult men about 13 glasses (3 liters) of water daily.
The AI for healthy adult women is 9 glasses (2.2 liters); This figure, however, takes into account all the water that is ingested, and at least 20% of this comes from solid foods.
The truth is that each individual’s water intake needs depend on many factors, including weight, activity level, health status, and the climate of the place where they live.
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It is important that you keep in mind that these are recommendations created including the liquids that come not only from water , but also from the drinks and foods you consume in your day to day.
And the reason why you should ingest these amounts of fluids daily is because we lose water in our day to day, when we breathe, perspire, urinate and even when we evacuate our instincts and we must recover it as you read before.
If you rarely feel thirsty and your urine is colorless (or light yellow in color), your fluid intake is probably adequate, however, we highly recommend seeking the advice of a health professional.
Lack of fluid affects brain function
For our brain to function as it should, we need to be hydrated. This has been shown by different studies that have analyzed what happens when we lose fluid and do not replace it. Even when it comes to small quantities.
This is the case of a group of researchers from the University of Connecticut who determined that mild dehydration has consequences on our mood. The study was carried out with a group of young women after exercising and having lost 1.36% of the fluid. This slight dehydration caused the participants to present alterations in their mood, their ability to concentrate and headaches.
The same occurred in a study conducted by the Dallas, Texas, Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine. In this case, the participants were men and, after exercising and losing 1.59% fluid, they showed higher levels of anxiety.
Staying hydrated and headache
In addition to your mood, drinking too little water can lead to headaches and even migraines, according to research by the London Migraine Clinic.
Also, drink water when we have a headache helps to relieve symptoms and reduces the time discomfort.
What about the advice to drink 8 glasses a day?
You’ve probably been given the advice “Drink 8 8-ounce glasses of water per day.” It is easy to remember and a reasonable goal.
Most healthy people hydrate by drinking water and other fluids when they are thirsty. For some people, less than eight glasses per day may be sufficient. However, other people may need more.
Factors that influence the needs to drink water
You may need to change your total fluid intake based on several factors:
- Exercise. If you practice any activity that makes you sweat, you need to drink more water to cover the loss of fluid. It is important to drink water before, during and after exercising. If the physical activity is intense and lasts more than an hour, a sports drink can replace the minerals in the blood (electrolytes) lost through sweat.
- Environment. Hot or humid weather can make you sweat, and you need to drink more fluids. Dehydration can also occur at high altitudes.
- General health. The body loses fluids when you have a fever, vomiting, or diarrhea. Drink more water or follow your doctor’s recommendation to drink oral rehydration solutions. Other conditions that may require increased fluid intake include bladder infections and urinary tract stones.
- Pregnancy or breastfeeding Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding need more fluids to stay hydrated. The Office on Women’s Health recommends pregnant women drink about 10 glasses (2.4 liters) of fluid per day and breastfeeding women about 13 glasses (3.1 liters) of fluid per day.
Beyond the tap: other water sources
You don’t have to rely solely on what you drink to meet your fluid needs. What you eat also contributes an important part. For example, many fruits and vegetables, like watermelon and spinach, contain nearly 100 percent water by weight.
Also, other beverages, such as milk, juice, and herbal teas, are mostly made up of water. Even caffeinated beverages like coffee and soda can contribute to your daily water intake. However, water is the best option, because it is calorie-free, inexpensive, and within easy reach.
Isotonic drinks should only be used when you are exercising vigorously for more than an hour. These drinks help to replace electrolytes lost through perspiration, as well as sugar that is needed for energy during longer periods of exercise.
Energy drinks are not the same as sports drinks. Energy drinks are not usually formulated to replenish electrolytes. In addition, they are generally high in caffeine or other stimulant substances, sugar, and other additives.
How to maintain healthy hydration
Your fluid intake is probably adequate if the following are true:
- You hardly ever feel thirsty
- Urine is colorless or light yellow in color
A doctor or registered dietitian can help you determine the right daily amount of water for you.
To prevent dehydration and ensure your body has the fluid it needs, make water your beverage of choice. It is a good idea to do the following:
- Drink a glass of water or another calorie-free or low-calorie beverage with every meal and between meals.
- Drink water before, during and after exercise.
- If you are hungry, drink water. Sometimes thirst is confused with hunger.
While rare, drinking too much water is also possible. When the kidneys cannot remove excess water, the sodium content in the blood becomes diluted (hyponatremia), which can be life-threatening.
Athletes, especially those who participate in long, intense workouts or endurance events, are at increased risk of hyponatremia. However, in general, drinking too much water is rare in healthy adults on the average American diet.
Although there are situations in which we must be more aware, such as very hot seasons or when we exercise, it is important not to obsess over the amount of water we drink, it is not necessary to measure the number of liters per day.
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