Scientific evidence underlines benefits of daily drinking water intake

  • 1 month ago
benefits of drinking water

Although water is essential to good health - individual needs vary and no single formula fits all.

How much water should you drink each day? It's a simple question with no easy answer.
Studies have produced varying recommendations over the years. But our individual water needs depend on many factors, including our health, how active we are and where we live.
According to scientific evidence, no single formula fits everyone but knowing more about our body’s need for fluids will helps us estimate how much water we need to drink daily.
Health benefits of water are numerous in  fact our body depends on water to survive.
Water is our body's principal chemical component and makes up about 60 percent of our body weight. Every cell, tissue and organ in our body needs water to work properly. 
For example, water:
  • Gets rid of wastes through urination, perspiration and bowel movements
  • Keeps our temperature normal
  • Lubricates and cushions joints
  • Protects sensitive tissues
Health experts stress that lack of water can lead to dehydration — a condition that occurs when our body does not have enough water to carry out normal functions. Even mild dehydration can drain our energy and make us tired.
How much water do you need everyday depends on how much  water we lose through our breath, perspiration, urine and bowel movements. For our body to function properly, we must replenish its water supply by consuming beverages and foods that contain water.
So how much fluid does the average, healthy adult living in a temperate climate need? The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is:
  • About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids for men
  • About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women
These recommendations cover fluids from water, other beverages and food. About 20 percent of daily fluid intake usually comes from food and the rest from drinks.
We all have probably heard the advice, ‘Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.’ That's easy to remember, and it's a reasonable goal.
Most healthy people can stay hydrated by drinking water and other fluids whenever they feel thirsty. For some people, fewer than eight glasses a day might be enough. But other people might need more.
There are several factors that influence water needs and we might need to modify our total fluid intake based on several factors:
  • Exercise. If you do any activity that makes you sweat, you need to drink extra water to cover the fluid loss. It's important to drink water before, during and after a workout. If exercise is intense and lasts more than an hour, a sports drink can replace minerals in your blood (electrolytes) lost through sweat.
  • Environment. Hot or humid weather can make you sweat and requires additional fluid intake. Dehydration also can occur at high altitudes.
  • Overall health. Your body loses fluids when you have a fever, vomiting or diarrhea. Drink more water or follow a doctor's recommendation to drink oral rehydration solutions. Other conditions that might require increased fluid intake include bladder infections and urinary tract stones.
  • Pregnancy or breast-feeding. Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding need additional fluids to stay hydrated. The Office on Women's Health recommends that pregnant women drink about 10 cups (2.4 liters) of fluids daily and women who breast-feed consume about 13 cups (3.1 liters) of fluids a day.
There are many other sources of water apart from the normal drinking  source.
We don't need to rely only on what we drink to meet our fluid needs. What we eat also provides a significant portion. For example, many fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon and spinach, are almost 100 percent water by weight.
In addition, beverages such as milk, juice and herbal teas are composed mostly of water. 
Even caffeinated drinks — such as coffee and soda — can contribute to your daily water intake. But water is our best bet because it's calorie-free, inexpensive and readily available.
Sports drinks should be used only when we are exercising intensely for more than an hour. These drinks help replace electrolytes lost through perspiration and sugar needed for energy during longer bouts of exercise.
Energy drinks are different from sports drinks. Energy drinks generally aren't formulated to replace electrolytes. Energy drinks also usually contain large amounts of caffeine or other stimulants, sugar, and other additives.
The best way to be safely hydrated, say experts is to find out if our fluid intake is probably adequate. Find out if: You rarely feel thirsty and if your urine is colorless or light yellow.
A doctor or registered dietitian can help you determine the amount of water that's right for you every day.
To prevent dehydration and make sure your body has the fluids it needs, make water your beverage of choice. It's also a good idea to:
  • Drink a glass of water or other calorie-free or low-calorie beverage with each meal and between each meal.
  • Drink water before, during and after exercise.
  • Drink water if you're feeling hungry. Thirst is often confused with hunger.
  • Although uncommon, it's possible to drink too much water. When our kidneys can't excrete the excess water, the sodium content of our blood is diluted (hyponatremia) — which can be life-threatening.
Athletes — especially if they participate in long or intense workouts or endurance events — are at higher risk of hyponatremia. 
In general, though, drinking too much water is rare in healthy adults who eat an average diet.
But drinking too much water can be deadly. Water intoxication, called hyponatremia, dilutes the body’s salt level, causing cells to swell. The condition is rare and a study published in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, issued this advice: Drink when you are thirsty.
The good news is, if you have had enough water, your body will tell you. Research undertaken finds that when people drink plenty of water and don’t feel thirsty, swallowing more water requires more effort — three times as much, people in the study said. The researchers dubbed it a “swallowing inhibition” — the bodies reaction to excess intake.
Bottom line: According to experts - while the elderly and anyone exercising intensely or dealing with extreme heat may need to stay ahead of their hydration, by and large your body and brain are on the right side regarding how much water you need.  
So finally the message is - Do what comes naturally. Drink when you want to, and chances are this behavior will keep your fluid balance on an even keel.