Our body is made up of water and needs it in order to survive in good health, but how much of it do we actually need to drink?
We’ve all read or heard that water is good for you, and that it’s preferable to drink it instead of artificially-coloured soft drinks, alcohol or drinks containing caffeine. The truth is that everyone’s body is different, and therefore, depending on factors such as gender, mass, age, living space, and even lifestyle and activities, different people need different amounts of water.
Water makes up more than 60% of a human’s bodyweight. It flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to cells, aids digestion, and leaves tissues moist and active. A lack of water can cause dehydration, a draining of energy, and the loss of body functions.
Our bodies work through a never-ending cycle. We take in water, and we lose water. This is why it’s important for us to always replenish our water supply, especially during high temperatures. The Institute of Medicine in the US stated that an adequate water intake for an adult male is 3 litres, and 2 litres for an adult female. On the other hand, the European Food Safety Authority suggested that men should drink at least 2 litres of water daily, and women drink 1.6 litres. So, who should we listen to?
The amount of water one needs varies, depending on the amount of exercise we engage in every day, since this would mean loss of bodily fluids through perspiration. Just because you don’t feel sweaty doesn’t mean that you’re not perspiring. The need for water also depends on one’s environment; that is, whether one lives in a hot or humid climate, whether one makes use of internal heating or lives in high altitudes. Other individual issues such as health conditions, pregnancy, breast-feeding, or illness should also be taken into account.
One should also remember that water doesn’t only come out of a bottle. Most fruits and vegetables contain a high percentage of water, as do other kinds of food. Other beverages, such as milk and fruit juice, are also composed largely of water, therefore one should consider them as part of one’s daily water intake.
How does one notice when s/he isn’t drinking enough?
Our body gives us definite signs. If you’re constipated, it’s likely that you’re not reaching your daily water intake. Another indicator is the colour of one’s urine, which tends to be darker when someone isn’t drinking enough. A lack of water may also result in a build-up of minerals, which can then form into kidney or urinary stones.
In a nutshell, when you’re thirsty, drink! That’s your body’s way of saying that it’s dehydrated. Of course, if you’re seeing any of the symptoms mentioned above, be sure to consult a doctor or other medical specialist.
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