We always hear how drinking water is so great for us, but I came across this article today about a man in the UK that died due to water intoxication. So it got me thinking, how much water do we actually need to drink on a daily basis, and how should we go about drinking it?
There is no question that water is very important in any diet. 60% of our weight is water weight. Water has many crucial responsibilities such as flushing out toxins and carrying nutrients to cells in our body.
During our day, we lose water constantly. Breathing, perspiration, urine & bowel movement. So, for our system to function effectively, we need to replace this water lost. Usually, water consumption is relative to weight and how active we are.
For example, the Institute of Medicine requires men to drink approx. 3 liters of water and women about 2.2 liters. The more you exercise, the more you need to drink, as you are losing more water via perspiration.
Food alone provides you with about 20% of your daily water needs. So you need to drink the remaining 80%. If you fail to drink adequate amount of water daily, you risk to become dehydrated, and sometimes, it is not as obvious as it seems.
If you feel always tired, have a look at how much water you are drinking, because you might not be drinking enough. Other symptoms include:
– dry mouth
– almost no urination
– muscle weakness
You should gain the habit of drinking constantly throughout your day. Take that 2-3 liter requirement per day and spread it over the course of your day. If you wait to be thirsty to drink, then you are probably already dehydrated. This is why it is better to become accustomed to drinking water regularly to prevent dehydration from happening in the first place.
If you are at work, always have a water bottle or glass next to you. Remind yourself to drink before and with every meal. Also, if you are active and you exercise, make sure you drink plenty of water before, during, and after your activity. Not only will you fend off dehydration, your system will be in even better shape and increase your performance in the particular activity you perform.
Now, it is possible to drink too much water. When your kidneys are incapable to excrete the excess water, the mineral content of the blood is diluted, resulting in a condition called hyponatremia, which is low sodium levels in the blood. Endurance athletes — such as marathon runners — who drink large amounts of water are at higher risk of hyponatremia. What happens then are cases of confusion, headaches and even swelling of the brain, which is highly dangerous.
And this is pretty much what happened to this fellow in the UK who suffered water intoxication. This is why if you are a very active person, it is crucial to hydrate little by little throughout the activity, instead of all in one big swoop at the end. That can be deadly as we can see.