You would think, with our body being 50 to 60% water, that we wouldn’t need more. But our body requires 8 to 10 glasses of water per day, in addition to the fluids in the food we eat and the other beverages we consume.
While we may need more water as we age, sometimes it seems we drink even less. There is a misconception that any fluid is as good as water. It is true, that there is fluid contained in the food we eat, especially fruit and vegetables. And the other drinks we drink do contain fluids. However, for our body to function at it’s best, we still need to drink 8 to 10 glasses of water in addition to the fluid contained in our other foods and beverages.
Five Reasons why we need water
- Water may help regulate the temperature of our body
- Water keeps us from becoming dehydrated
- Water helps transport nutrients through our body
- Water aids in digestion
- Water helps the kidneys and other organs function properly
How can we tell if we are drinking enough water?
The color of your urine is a good way to tell, unless you are on medication that causes changes in your urine color. If you are drinking enough water, your urine will be very light yellow, almost clear. If you are not, it will be dark yellow, or almost to the point of orange.
Urine output is another way to tell if we are drinking enough. If our urine output is small, dark colored or foul smelling; we may need to drink more water.
A lack of enough water may also cause physical symptoms, such as thirst, mental confusion, bad breath and dry mouth, tiredness and a general unwell feeling. If we ignore these signs, we may become dehydrated. Becoming dehydrated will result in physical and mental decline. In some cases it requires hospitalization, and could be life threatening.
What if I don’t like water?
Some people say they don’t like the taste of water and can’t drink it. But there are many ways to make it more palatable. Fruit can be added, such as lemons and oranges. There are flavored packets that can be added. There are also many kinds of flavored water. Just be careful to check the sugar content in these.
How can I drink that much water?
It is best to drink 8 to 10 glasses of water, spread throughout the day. You can come up with a plan that works best for you.
This is the basics of my plan: I drink 20 swallows before breakfast, which is the equivalent of 2 glasses. I drink another glass mid-morning. I enjoy a glass before lunch, and another before dinner. (Sometimes I have another glass after lunch and dinner) I have a glass or two somewhere in the time before bed. I also have a glass at bedtime, sometimes two glasses. If I drink another liquid like coffee or tea, or occasionally I enjoy a soda, I try to remember to drink a glass of water before I indulge.
It is pretty easy to stick to my plan at home; but I confess, I don’t do as well when I leave the house. Some people are very good at taking a big water bottle with them for drinking throughout the day. I am hit or miss concerning this very good habit. It is something I need to cultivate for my own health.
Can I drink too much water?
Drinking large amounts of water in short periods of time can cause a condition called hyponatremia. It is basically caused by an imbalance of the sodium to water content in our body. I won’t go in to the other causes of hyponatremia here; but there is much information online if you care to look it up. Generally speaking, with normal water drinking throughout the day, it shouldn’t be a problem. It stems from drinking too much too fast. Chugging water, or any liquid for that matter, is not recommended. Pace your drinking throughout the day, and sip instead of chugging.
Suggestions for keeping track of how much we drink.
Some people use a container of water the size of the amount they should drink per day. They put it in the refrigerator the night before. They start drinking in the morning and by the end of the day it should be empty. It’s a pretty accurate way of measuring the amount we are drinking and how much we need to drink before the end of the day.
Others, like me, plan to drink their water at certain times during the day and use the amount of glasses they drink as their gauge.
I have heard it said that some people use a pile of pennies. Every time they drink a glass of water, they put a penny on a stack. If they want to know how many glasses of water they have consumed; they simple count the pennies.
I hope you have found something within this post that will aid you in drinking a sufficient amount of water to keep your body operating at peak performance. If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, please leave them in the comments section below.
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