Look on any list of basic health tips and you’ll see the following suggestions: don’t smoke, get plenty of exercise, try to sleep seven to eight hours a night and drink lots of water. You’d think that drinking water would be the easiest advice to follow, and yet few of us consume the daily recommended amount for optimal health.
The answer to why we need to drink water is an easy one—our bodies are composed of 60 to 70 percent water. It’s a primary component in the blood, brain, lungs and muscles, transporting oxygen and nutrients through the body and critical in maintaining body temperature. We are constantly losing water by way of urination, respiration and sweating, and our internal water supply does not replenish itself. It’s up to us to make sure we’re consuming enough to water to avoid dehydration. While most people experience mild dehydration from time to time, if left unchecked it can cause serious complications, including fatigue, headaches, nausea, rapid heartbeat and even seizures. Extreme dehydration, though very rare when unrelated to illness or malnutrition, can be fatal.
So how much water should you be drinking? Well, there are differing opinions. Generally, the recommended amount for an average sized adult is 64 ounces a day. This equates to 3 to 4 bottles of water, which may seem like a ridiculously large amount to take in every day. What is important to remember, however, is that at least 20% of your daily intake of water comes from the food you eat. If you don’t think you can get down four bottles of water (and let’s face it, most of us probably can’t), try drinking one to two and increase the amount of fruits and vegetables in your diet, especially citrus fruits, apples, tomatoes, broccoli and leafy greens such as spinach or cabbage. There’s also plenty of water in fruit and vegetable juice. Just make sure to choose an all-natural blend that doesn’t have extra sugar or sodium.
The best way to tell if you’re getting enough water is by paying attention to your body. It seems silly to say “drink when you feel thirsty,” but too often many of us ignore our bodies’ needs, such as hydration, food and using the bathroom, until we’re uncomfortable and the need becomes urgent. If your body is telling you “I’m thirsty,” give it something to drink! Also pay attention to signs of dehydration, including tiredness, nausea and dizziness. During warmer months, or if you exercise frequently, you should probably drink a little more than the recommended 64 ounces, just to compensate for extra perspiration. Water may be less fun to drink than soda or beer, but unlike soda or beer you can’t live without it.
Medex Supply Blogger