In health & well-being

eight glasses a day

I am trying to be healthier this year… and I am awful about drinking water so that is one of my goals (goal #6 specifically). To be smart about it though I did a little research about how much water to drink a day- so I thought I would share the info I found. :) So generally speaking- there is no specific formula for how much water every person should drink. It all depends on your health, how much you exercise, and even where you live.

Water makes up over 60 percent of our body weight and every system in our body depends on water (such as flushing out toxins, carrying nutrients to your cells, and moisturizing tissue in the nose, ears, and throat). Not enough water in your system leads to dehydration which have very serious consequences, but even mild dehydration can lead to drowsiness and a lack of energy. I’m sure everyone knows this… but our bodies loose water everyday through breathing, sweating, and using the restroom. We replenish our bodies of water by simply (and obviously) drinking beverages and even eating food.

So- how much water do we need exactly every day? Generally speaking in a temperate environment- The Institute of Medicine determined that an adequate intake (AI) for men is roughly 3 liters (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day. The AI for women is 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of total beverages a day.

So what about the the eight glasses a day thing? Well- eight glasses of water equates to about 1.9 liters, so not horribly different. The actual eight glasses doesn’t really have a hard evidence it turns out- but its catchy and easy to remember. So it would be better to remember drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid a day,” because all fluids count toward the daily total.

Several things can change how much water a person should drink though- like exercise, environment, illness, or pregnancy (and breastfeeding). For example:
exercising for just short bouts each day leaves the body needing about 2 more cups of water a day
more humid environments makes the human body sweat more which again leaves the body needing more water
illnesses that cause vomiting or diarrhea drains the body of more water
pregnant women need about 2.3 liters (about 10 cups) and breastfeeding women need 3.1 liters (about 13 cups)

Now keep in mind on average, food provides about 20 percent of total water intake. For example, many fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon and tomatoes, are 90 percent or more water by weight.

So a couple of tips I discovered-
• Make water the beverage of choice (at restaurants and such – its cheaper by the way!)
• Drink a glass of water or other calorie-free or low-calorie beverage with each meal and between each meal.
Drink water before, during and after exercise.

 **I did find that it is possible to drink to much water… which is called hyponatremia. This is incredibly rare though – and in general drinking to much water is rare in healthy adults with an American diet (so unless you drown yourself in water… its probably not something you have to worry about). Of course if you are worried about it talk to your physician! :D

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