How much water should you drink?
How much water should you drink a day? You probably know that it's important to drink plenty of fluids when the temperatures soar outside. But staying hydrated is a daily necessity, no matter what the thermometer says. Unfortunately, many of us aren't getting enough to drink, especially older adults. "Older people don't sense thirst as much as they did when they were younger. And that could be a problem if they're on a medication that may cause fluid loss, such as a diuretic," says Dr. Julian Seifter, a kidney specialist and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. The daily four-to-six cup rule is for generally healthy people. It's possible to take in too much water if you have certain health conditions, such as thyroid disease or kidney, liver, or heart problems; or if you're taking medications that make you retain water, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), opiate pain medications, and some antidepressants. Americans seem to carry bottled water everywhere they go these days. It has become the second most popular drink (behind soft drinks). But water lovers got a jolt recently when we heard that a new report had found that the benefits of drinking water may have been oversold. The old suggestion to drink eight glasses a day was nothing more than a guideline, not based on scientific evidence. But don't put your water bottle or glass down just yet. While we may not need eight glasses, there are plenty of reasons to drink water. Drinking water (either plain or in the form of other fluids or foods) is essential to your health.
1. Drinking-Water Helps Maintain the Balance of Body Fluids. Your body is composed of about 60% water. The functions of these bodily fluids include digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature. "Through the posterior pituitary gland, your brain communicates with your kidneys and tells it how much water to excrete as urine or hold onto for reserves," says Guest, who is also an adjunct professor of medicine at Stanford University. When you're low on fluids, the brain triggers the body's thirst mechanism. And unless you are taking medications that make you thirsty, Guest says, you should listen to those cues and get yourself a drink of water, juice, milk, coffee -- anything but alcohol.
2. Water Can Help Control Calories. For years, dieters have been drinking lots of water as a weight-loss strategy. While water doesn't have any magical effect on weight loss, substituting it for higher calorie beverages can certainly help. "What works with weight loss is if you choose water or a non-caloric beverage over a caloric beverage and/or eat a diet higher in water-rich foods that are healthier, more filling, and help you trim calorie intake," says Penn State researcher Barbara Rolls, Ph.D., author of The Volumetrics Weight-Control Plan. Food with high water content tends to look larger, its higher volume requires more chewing, and it is absorbed more slowly by the body, which helps you feel full. Water-rich foods include fruits, vegetables, broth-based soups, oatmeal, and beans.
3. Fight Stress with Water. Dehydration is known to contribute to stress. Fatigue, anger, negative mood, and cognitive problems all increase when you're dehydrated. Stay ahead of stress and sip water throughout the day. Keep a bottle of water with you at all times and drink some every half hour or hour during the day. You'll be less likely to get dehydrated and feel stressed. Remember, don't wait until you feel thirsty to drink. Thirst occurs when you're already dehydrated. Mild dehydration has negative effects on mood and energy levels. About two-thirds of the human body is comprised of water, so dehydration affects most of the body's functions. In studies, dehydration has been associated with increased fatigue, anger, and confusion as well as mood problems and decreased vigor. You need to be well hydrated for your cells to work properly. Drinking water also helps maintain a healthy heart rate and blood pressure. You need adequate fluid to produce lymph, an important bodily fluid, and the component of the immune system. All systems of the bodywork better in a water-rich environment. Drink water steadily throughout the day to avoid dehydration. If you wait until you feel thirsty, you are probably already dehydrated. Try some lemon water if plain water is not appealing to you.
4. Flush Out Toxins You’ve probably heard the expression, “sweat it out.” Water consumption helps your body flush out waste through sweat and urination. This also prevents kidney stones and protects you from urinary tract infections. Your body is able to naturally detoxify through the use of its lungs, liver, and kidneys. But sometimes we give it more than it can handle (i.e. holiday eating marathons or a few too many drinks over the weekend). Consider toxins the boats floating through your body. Water is the river that floats those toxins out. Don't let the water level drop or the toxins make get stuck and cause harm. Being regular is the result of a healthy digestive system. And drinking water helps your body digest everything you eat. According to Mayo Clinic, water helps break down food (so that your body can absorb the nutrients) and prevents constipation.
But if you want to get specific, there’s a pretty simple way to figure out the exact amount of water you should be drinking each day click here and check yourself.