Our body weight is made up of 60% water, and we lose some of it through breathing, sweating, and digesting. Drinking the recommended amount of fluids per day ensures hydration for good health.
How Much Do We Need to Drink?
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine have determined that drinking approximately 2.7 liters (91 ounces) of fluids daily for women; and about 3.7 liters (125 ounces) of fluids daily for men, either from drinks or food that contains water, is an adequate amount to stay hydrated.
Though it sounds easy to chug a gallon of water a day, it is quite challenging for those who lead a busy lifestyle. To help you build a habit of staying hydrated, you must first know the importance of hydration.
Why is Hydration Important?
Water is our primary source of hydration. Other than drinking a glass of water, there are other sources where we can get water from, such as fruits and vegetables. Our body uses water to help cells, tissues, and organs to function properly.
We need to stay hydrated for the following reasons:
- To regulate body temperature. Due to water’s unique properties, it can help regulate the body’s temperature, thus preventing us from overheating.
- It helps lubricate joints. The synovial fluid found in the cavities of synovial joints contains water. This fluid lubricates the joints and helps reduce friction between bones during movement.
- It prevents infection. By taking in more fluids, your body will have no difficulty in flushing out irritants like bacteria that may cause diseases such as urinary tract infection.
- Water helps transport nutrients. When the body absorbs the water we drink, it carries nutrients to the cells. It also transports oxygen to the brain in the form of bodily fluids, such as blood.
- Hydration protects organs and sensitive tissues. Staying hydrated helps protect and retain moisture in the most sensitive parts of your body, such as bones, brain, and the spinal cord.
- Water aids digestion. Drinking water while or after eating helps the digestion process by breaking down food into nutrients, which will later be absorbed by the body. Keeping yourself hydrated prevents constipation, as water also softens the stool. Drink water to improve your overall gut health.
- Hydration moisturizes the skin. When you do not drink much water, you may notice that your skin looks dry. Lack of hydration results in skin looking dull, tight, and flaky.
- Keeping hydrated helps your heart. Staying hydrated helps your heart to pump blood efficiently throughout the entire body. It also allows oxygen to reach the muscles so that they can function effectively. Lack of hydration causes your blood to thicken due to sodium retention, which hinders blood circulation.
We need hydration for good health. However, there are times when we forget to hydrate due to busy schedules. If you do not replenish the fluids in your body adequately, this can lead to dehydration.
How Do I Know If I’m Dehydrated?
Excessive loss of water in the body leads to dehydration. This condition often happens when you do not drink water even if you are thirsty, or when you are sick, especially when you vomit or have diarrhea. Here are some signs that you may lack hydration.
- You feel extremely thirsty
- Your mouth, tongue, and throat feel dry
- Infrequent urination
- Urine has a dark yellow color
You need adequate hydration for good health! If you experience the following signs, hydrate your body as soon as possible by drinking fluids. Water is the most recommended. If the symptoms of dehydration worsen, immediately seek medical attention.
How to Build Habits to Ensure Good Hydration?
- Start easy. If you are not accustomed to drinking water often, you can slowly build up the amount you consume. You do not need to drown yourself with tons of water right away. Start with a couple of glasses a day.
- Keep track. List down the time you drink and the amount you consume. You should drink at least eight 8-ounces of water a day as recommended by most doctors. Drink more as needed, especially if you work out.
- Bring a reusable water bottle everywhere. To make sure that you drink often, keep a refillable bottle with water within reach.
- Set a reminder. When you are busy, you tend to forget to eat and drink at the proper time. Set the alarm every hour or so to remind yourself to take a sip.
- Add some flavor. Some people do not like drinking water because it has no taste. To entice your palate, infuse your water with some fruits like berries, lemons, and cucumbers. This step will not only encourage you to drink more, but it will also add more nutrients to your body.
- Drink after you pee or when you sweat. Replenishing the fluids that are flushed out of the body will prevent dehydration. Try to take sips of water whenever you can to maintain the amount of fluid your body needs.
- Drink before every meal. Sometimes we often confuse thirst with hunger. Therefore, it is best if you drink a glass of water before every meal to know whether you are hungry or just thirsty.
- Eat water-rich food. Certain foods are also a great source of water, such as berries, cucumbers, and watermelon.
Water is vital in sustaining bodily functions, and so we must always be mindful to drink enough. We often take our bodies for granted and forget to drink water as we are preoccupied with work and other activities. But there are things that we must do to make sure that our body will stay healthy and perform at its optimal level.
Keeping our bodies hydrated is like getting gas for a car. A car will not work if it is out of fuel. It is the same with our bodies. When you are dehydrated, you will feel sluggish and tired. Therefore, keeping our bodies hydrated at all times will have a significant impact on our overall health. Maintain your body’s hydration for good health!
Learn more about Healthy Eating, here.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.