“Drink 8 glasses of water a day” have been preached by many health experts and we’ve all heard so many times that we’re pretty much numb to it, along with the general notion that “you need to drink more water,” and other related words of advice.
But do your body really need 8 glasses of water a day? Here’s a look at claims that individuals make about water, and some insight into them.
Reasons why you need to drink 8 glasses of water a day
The amount of water that your body needs to stay adequately hydrated will vary depending on differences in lifestyle, such as:
Location: Your body will require more water to stay properly hydrated if you live in hotter and/or more humid climate.
Exercise: The more you exercise, the more water your body loses, and the more you need to drink to refill it.
Body type: The amount of water a large person needs to drink versus someone smaller obviously matters.
Medications/specific health conditions: Some medications will dehydrate you fast, so it’s vital to drink extra if this is your case. Also, when you throw up, have diarrhea, or have a fever, your body is losing fluids, which is why when you’re sick you need to drink lots of fluids.
To sum it up, the higher and more active you are, the more water your body needs-especially for people who live in the tropics with chronic diarrhea.
The hyped 8 glasses a day isn’t a bad thing to go by, but a more appropriate guideline is given by the Institute of Medicine.
This guideline states that an average adult man will need around 13 cups of fluid every day, and an average adult woman will need about 9 cups of fluid daily.
If you’re going to go by one thing to control how much your body needs water, you can go by the color of your urine.
Lighter colored urine means you’re probably well hydrated, whereas dark-colored urine means you need to drink more fluids.
Benefits of drinking water
Water aids in weight loss
This is very arguable, and truthfully, there hasn’t been enough published researchers to prove that it does or doesn’t work for everybody.
However, one research did show promising results when it came to water playing a role in weight loss in people middle-aged and older.
The study took a sample of overweight or fat people considered inactive and split them up. The control group simply followed a calorie-controlled diet, however, the second group followed the same diet, but drank 500 milliliters of water before each meal.
After keeping this study up for 12 weeks both groups lost weight due to the diet change, but on average the water-drinking group lost 5 pounds more than the other group.
They testified feeling more full and were less hungry, so experts concluded the water acted as an appetite suppressant.
Other reasons water might add to weight loss is that, if you replace sugary or sweet beverages with plain water, you’re reducing your calorie intake.
Yearlong follow-up research found that the control group had gained some weight after stopping their diet (averagely), while the water-drinking group weighed slightly less than they did after stopping the diet (on averagely).
Those who drank water during the research voluntarily continued to drink water before meals afterward, which shows water may also help weight loss rebound.
Water flushes toxins from your system
While some doctors may disagree with this, the overall consensus is that it does really help flush toxins out of important organs, and conveys nutrients to all your cells as well.
This does not mean that your kidneys will become super-kidneys and your liver will filter wine into water, but it is still required to keep things flowing smoothly and efficiently when it comes to toxin accumulating in the body.
Only straight water can keep you hydrated properly, and things like milk, juice, and tea are mostly made up of water. However, they shouldn’t be replaced for all of your fluid intakes.
You can also get about 20% of your daily bodily fluids from foods, especially from fruits and veggies like watermelon, tomato, and cucumber which are 90% water by weight.
Too much water
Can drinking much water prove to be fatal? The answer to this is yes, but it’s also very unusual for the average adult.
The vast majority of incidents of fatal water intoxication occurs mainly in athletes in endurance sports, or persons consuming vast amounts of water for a competition.
It’s not common to accidentally drinking too much water.
When you drink excess water, you dilute your body’s fluids, because you’re not replenishing electrolytes, despite been hydrated.
The body tries to balance out this imbalance of electrolytes by moving the diluted fluid through cells since the inside of the cells has a greater concentration of electrolytes.
This causes your cells to inflate, including those found in the brain. Contained by the skull, the cells can mount pressure on the central nervous system, cut off blood flow, or rupture.
It’s not pleasant hearing, but I suppose it helps us not to forget that there’s always too much of a good thing.
This is why it’s vital for athletes like marathon runners to always drink a fluid that contains electrolytes. That way, they can continue to stay hydrated and they keep the balance as they sweat and lose electrolytes.
A tip for staying hydrated
If you’re having a difficult time finding the motivation to drink water, put it in an attractive container (cup, mug or any type of vessel you like).
Something that makes it look great, refreshing, and tempting, something that reminds you what a wonderful substance it is.
Water is great for us and we need it. Try to drink the proper amount each day, but don’t use it as a sole means to lose weight, and help keep your body working smoothly.
There’s a good chance you’ll notice a reduction in headaches and muscle tension. You’ll have more energy, have an easier time staying alert, and your general sense of well-being will be much improved.