How much water should I drink? - Benefits of water and how much water you should drink a day
My grandma doesn't like water. She says she hates the taste. I don't really understand what she means by that since water really has no taste, but that's none of my business. What I find worrysome is that she doesn't drink as much water as she should because of her distaste for it, which can lead to the scary state of dehydration.
My grandma isn't alone. Through the years I've met a few people who, even though they're surrounded by water, refuse to drink enough because they don't like the taste. This is a worrysome situation since it can lead to dehydration. In fact, some people may be dehydrated without even knowing it.
Let's look at some symptoms of dehydration and see if you can spot any of them in your body.
Signs of dehydration
Dehydration starts creeping in your body slowly, which makes it harder to spot. Symptoms of dehydration will start to show when your body has lost about 2% of its total liquid volume. The first stages of dehydration will usually cause:
- continuous thirst
- dry mouth, lips and tongue
- dry skin
- no feel to urinate, and the little urine that does come out is dark in color, which means that it is saturated with waste.
You can go 20 days without eating, but you can only last 3 days without water! Drink up! Water is essential for your health.
When dehydration gets more serious, your body starts presenting scarier symptoms, such as:
- No salivation, tears or sweat
- high temperature
- loss of appetite
- sunken eyes
- tongue swelling
- vein collapse
What causes dehydration?
Dehydration is caused by the obvious reason: not drinking enough water, or drinking less water than you take in. Some people have a higher risk of dehydration, such as:
- people with medical conditions such as kidney stones or bladder infection, or any other medical condition that causes vomit, diarrhea or fever
- The elderly
- Pregnant women
- those trying to lose weight
If you find yourself in any of these categories, make sure your intake of water is at an optimal level,which takes us to the next topic...
How can I drink more water?
- Add flavor to your water by adding small slices of fruit such as lemons, berries or oranges. This will make water taste delicious and will have you drinking it in no time
- Carry a bottle of water with you and drink sip by sip. You will be surprised at how much water you can drink little by little.
- Drink water in a schedule. For example, get used to drinking water as soon as you wake up, before every meal and before going to sleep.
Benefits of water
Why would anyone not want drink water? There are so many benefits to drinking this elixir of youth, and the best part of all is that it is so cheap. (As long as you stay away from VOSS, Fiji or other expensive brands. Seriously?! What are they thinking?!?!)
Here's a list of benefits your body will enjoy once it starts drinking the water it deserves:
Improved brain functions
When you don't drink water, your blood becomes thicker, which means your body will have to work harder to get your blood moving, which means less blood to your brain, which means lack of concentration and impaired thinking abilities.
On the other hand, drinking water does the opposite. It gets your blood flowing to your brain and everywhere else in your body, which means improved concentration and brain functions.
Stop paying for those expensive energy drinks! The best energy drink is water. Water helps blood circulate better throughout your body, taking oxygen to every organ in your body, which leads to increased energy and strength.
Radiant skin and hair
Water keeps your skin from looking dry and dull. It hydrates skin and hair making it look young and beautiful.
Helps with weight loss
Sometimes our body may send hunger signals when in reality it is just thirsty. Next time you feel hungry, drink water. This will help you consume less calories.
Water is also an appetite suppressant and accelerates metabolism, so drink a tall glass of water before every meal. This will make you feel fuller, and you will eat less.
Helps prevent muscle cramps
Water lubricates joints and muscles, which decreases your chances of feeling crampy.
Good for kidneys
Water dilutes minerals and salts in the body which prevents the body from developing kidney stones.
Good for the heart
Drinking more than 5 glasses a day decreases risk of cardiac diseases by 41%.
Vital during pregnancy
Water helps with blood production and supports baby growth.
Good for stomach
Water helps with digestion, heartburn and ulcers.
Good for overall health
Water is essential for your body. It keeps you healthy and young. As it that weren't enough, water can also help reduce colon and breast cancer risk. So why wouldn't anyone drink it?!
how much water should I drink?
It is recommended to drink from 6 to 8 ounces of water a day. However, each body is different and the amount of water we should drink will largely depend on our size and weight. The formula for knowing exactly how much you should drink is:
your weight / 2 = oz. of water you should drink a day.
So if you weight 120, your optimal intake of water should be 60 oz, which seems pretty close to the recommended 8 glasses of water a day. However, your water intake will also change according to your lifestyle. So, if you're an athlete, a pregnant woman, or experiencing vomit or diarrhea, you should drink more water than what this formula will tell you.
But I don't like water!
Okay, okay, quit your yapping! I get it, you don't like water. I'm not going to say you don't need water, because YOU KNOW you do, but I will give you some options.
- Eat more fruits with high water content such as watermelon, cucumber, cantaloupe or pineapple.
- Eat vegetables with high water content such as celery, iceberg lettuce, tomato or zucchini.
- Drink herbal teas
Keep coffee and carbonated drinks to a minimum. Even though they do add to your daily liquid intake, they can also reduce you water volume. Caffeine, the main compound in coffee and some carbonated drinks, is a known diuretic,which means it will make you pee more than usual. This means that you may be releasing more water than you are taking in, which could lead to dehydration if you don't drink enough water.
What about sport drinks?
Sport drinks are awesome...if you're exercising like a true athlete. If you engage in intense physical activity for more than 1 hour, sport drinks can help you replenish the electrolytes and necessary carbohydrates that are lost during the intense exercise sessions.
If you only walk around the block or semi-jog in your treadmill while watching TV, you should just stick to drinking water. Regardless of what the commercials say, Gatorade will not make you look fit and cool.
Also, choose your sport drinks wisely. READ LABELS. Some sport drinks contain too much sugar, sodium and caffeine. Don't forget to also check the portion size. Some people think that the portion size listed on the label is equal to the whole bottle of gatorade. NO! Some bottles may contain more than 1 portion, which means that you will have to double the amount of sugar listed on the label.
We all know water is good. Even if you don't like the taste, you know water does the body good. So drink enough water and enjoy good health!
More on healthy beverages you can drink
- Chia seed drink - how to make it.
Learn how to make this nutritious drink out of Chia Seeds.
- Recipe on how to Make Canary Grass Seed (Alpiste) Milk
- Is milk bad for you? The truth about milk and how it affects the body
We've been brought up to believe milk is good for you. However, more and more studies are pointing in the opposite direction, showing us how milk is bad for our health.
- Milk alternatives - home made and store bought.