Drinking a healthy amount of water is vital to your health. You can never imagine just by changing this simple step, you gain tremendous health benefits, and sometimes you can even throw away your migraine medicine or pain killer. Before you can appreciate the benefits of water to your health, let’s review the role of water in human body.
Functions of Water in The Body
The human body is anywhere from 55% to 78% water depending on body size. A rule of thumb, 2/3 of body is consists of water, and it is the main component of human body. Did you know that your tissues and organs are mainly made up of water?
- Muscle consists of 75% water
- Brain consists of 90% of water
- Bone consists of 22% of water
- Blood consists of 83% water
The functions of water in human body are vital. The water:
- Transpsort nutrients and oxygen into cells
- Moisturizes the air in lungs
- Helps with metabolism
- Protect our vital organ
- Helps our organs to absorb nutrients better
- Regulates body temperature
- Protect and moisturizes our joints
Every cell in your body needs water from head to toe. That is why it is so important to drink enough fluid. Take for example, brain consists of 90% of water, if you do not supply enough water to your body, your brain cannot function well, and you will get headache or migraine. Hence, next time, if you feel fatigue and headache, it may be the sign of dehydration.
The Harmful Effects Result from Dehydration:
- Muscle cramps
- Irregular blood-pressure
- Kidney problems
- Dry skin
- 20% dehydrated – Risk of death
Symptoms of Dehydration
Here are some of the symptoms that you need more water:
- Dark Urine – Dark Yellow or Orange in Color: Urine is generally pale yellow to clear when you have sufficient water intake. Dark color or smell strong indicates that you need to drink more water.
- Dry Skin: Skin is the largest body organ and requires its share of water.
- Thirst: Thirst is the most obvious sign that you’re already dehydrated. It is always a good practice to drink more water when your are not thirsty, don’t wait until you’re thirsty.
- Hunger: Most people mistaken hungry is the indication to eat more, whereas in actual fact, you may be dehydrated. So before you have your meal, grab a glass of water.
- Fatigue: Water is a source of enegy, give you a boost in energy.
How much water should you drink a day to avoid dehydration? A common approach is drinking 8 glasses of water a day, is it sufficient?
There is no clear-cut answer as to how much water to drink per day, because it depends upon a number of factors like your health condition, your activity status, the climatic conditions, physical size, your weight and your environment etc. You lose quite a lot of water through sweating, exhaling and urinating. In hot weather, you tend to lose more water through sweating, in cold condition, you tend to urine more. In the event of sickness like flu and diarrhoea, you tend to lose fluid. When you weigh more, your body needs more fluid for the muscle, organ, bone etc.
There are many recommendations advise that you drink 8 glasses (250ml/8 ounce per glass = total of approx 2 litre) of water a day. Is drinking 8 glasses of water enough? Remove the environmental, climatic factors and your activity level out of the equation, the amount of water intake is vary according to your weight. A more accurate estimation is to drink at least half your body weight (in pounds) in ounces of water. Let’s illustrate with the following example:
1. You weigh 160 pounds.160 ÷ 2 = 80 (amount of water to drink in ounce per day)
Answer: Drink 80 ounce of water per day.
If you are using kilograms in unit, divide the kilograms by 30, this gives you the water to drink a day in litre.
2. You weigh 75kg 75 ÷ 30 = 2.5 (amount of water to drink in litre per day)
Answer: Drink 2.5 litre of water per day.
Tips for drinking water: Spread the water out evenly throughout the day. If the amount of water is 80 ounces, spread the water out by drinking one 10-ounce glass every hour for eight hours, which is about drinking 8 glasses of water per day.
For exercise, drink 1-2 cup of water 30 minutes before exercise. It helps to replenish the fluid loss and fuel the muscle during the exercise.
Since other factors like your activity level and the environment conditions do affect your water intake, another way to know if you’re getting enough water, watch your urine. It should be light yellow colored or clear. If it is dark or strong smelling, it is time to drink more water. Also watch for other signs of dehydration such as fatigue, headaches, and difficulty concentrating. If you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated.
Tips on Getting Yourself to Drink Enough Water
Getting yourself to habits of drinking enough water is not easy. You will be surprised that the reason that people not drinking enough water is the inconvenience or extra trips of wash room visits. However, weighing the consequences and the benefits of drinking water, health should put ahead of inconveniences. If you don’t like the taste of plain water, try to add a squeeze of lemon or lime.
Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning. You may find that you no longer need your morning cup of coffee. One reason why people feel tired in the morning is they are dehydrated after a long night sleep!
Cold Water or Lemon Water: It’s more pleasant to drink your water cold or added with little bit of flavour like lemon. You can throw a couple of ice cubes with a slice of lemon into it. As it is more pleasant to drink, this will help you get used to drinking water quicker and you will find yourself that drinking 8 glasses of water or even 10 glasses are not an issues anymore!
Drink a glass of water before, during and after meals. Many people mistake thirst for hunger. Drinking a glass of water will help you to stay in control of your eating, and therefore help to keep your weight in a healthy range. Moreover, drink water during the meals helps in digestion of the food.
Carry a bottle of water with measurement: Go and buy a bottle with measurement, it can be a 2 litre or litre bottle, doesn’t matter. The benefits are it serves as a reminder of your daily quota, example, make sure your 2 litre bottle of water is empty by end of the day if it is your daily quota. Also, it is convenient to carry a bottle when you are out.
Before-during-after exercise: Just like the meals, it’s recommended you drink water before you exercise. The fluids you lose during your exercise need to be replenished, so don’t forget to drink during your exercises. And of course after your exercises, just drink a glass or bottle of water.
Tea or Coffee: It’s hard to not drink coffee or tea at all if you already used to drink it. Tea and coffee has its health benefits too, but try to keep it to a minimum. It is for your own health after all.
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