Are you sure you are drinking enough water?


Last Updated June 7th, 2019

How much water is right for you?

Water is a liquid which has no taste, no color, as well as no odor.  Water is considered to be the primary substance required for any life form.  Our planet earth is covered with 71% of water. It is well known that without water all life forms will be dead.

Researchers have recommended consuming at least eight ounces of water eight times a day, which may vary accordingly depending on person to person. 90% of the blood consists of water which is the main carrier of oxygen to the blood.  Reduction in water consumption is directly related to low levels of oxygen transported to the cells.  This, in turn, increases the production of lactic acid leading to lactic acidosis.  Increased pH levels can lead to complications such as an increase in blood pressure, the formation of kidney stones, etc.  Drinking water adequately is the best way to treat this condition.

Hydration is one of the most important aspects which keeps a human alive and helps in various functions of the body.  It should be noted that two-thirds of the human body is made up of water.

There is an 8 x 8 rule which was formulated by dieticians, which means a person should be drinking 8 glasses of water per day with each glass accounting to 8 ounces.  This 8 x 8 rule is a general rule and the water requirement may vary from person to person depending on various factors such as how much urine and sweat is excreted from the body.

There are several health benefits associated with drinking an adequate amount of water and include improving mental performance, improving physical performance, maintaining body temperature.  They help in removing waste particles from the body through urination and sweat. Water provides moisture to the skin and hair, protects tissues which are sensitive, carry oxygen to the cells, promote digestion, manage constipation, as well as maintain electrolyte balance.

Did you know?

  • Two third of the human body is made up of water.
  • Human bones contain 31% water.
  • Around 80% of diseases acquired are water related.
  • A normal human can live for 30 days without food, but can only survive seven days without water.
  • 200 gallons of water is utilized to produce one pint of beer.
  • Production of one ton of steel requires 300 tons of water.
  • Surprisingly, excess intake of water may cause water intoxication and cause death.

How does hydration affect your body?

There are numerous health benefits associated with drinking water and some of them are discussed below:

Helps in the formation of saliva and mucus

Salivary glands produce saliva, which is a watery substance.  Saliva constitutes to 98% of water and the remaining 2% consists of important substances that help in digestion of food as well as passing the food from the mouth to the esophagus.  Water is also helpful in flushing out harmful bacteria lodged in the gums and teeth and reduces the occurrence of cavities.

Helps to lubricate the joints

Joints of the body are surrounded by an elastic substance called cartilage.  Cartilage provides cushioning to the joint. It contains around 80 percent of water, which helps in absorbing the shocks that the joints experience.  Due to this, there is reduced pressure on the joints. It is important to consume adequate amounts of water, which can help maintain the consistency of cartilage and protect the joints.

Transports oxygen throughout the body

One of the important functions of the blood is to supply oxygen to different parts of the body.  Blood consists of 90% water. We can notice that the skin would turn into blue color when blood supply is cut off to a particular area.  This is because there is no oxygen transported to that area. It is important to drink adequate amounts of water to promote good blood flow as well as help in transporting oxygen efficiently to different parts of the body.

Promotes healthy skin

Drinking adequate amount of water is one of the ways to promote healthy skin.  When a person does not drink sufficient amounts of water, it results in dry and scaly skin.  Generally, water is stored in the layers of the skin. Low consumption of water may lead to very little or no water stored in the skin.  This may eventually lead to blockage of pores due to dust and other waste particles. This, in turn, leads to dry and scaly skin.

Protects the brain & spinal cord

It should be noted that the brain consists of 80% of water.  The spinal cord and brain are cushioned by cartilage, which contains around 80% of water.  Hence water plays an important role in promoting the proper functioning of these parts of the body.  Studies have indicated that water is also helpful in the production of certain neurotransmitters as well as hormones that are essential for the proper functioning of the brain.

Manages body temperature

Maintaining the right body temperature is important and this can be accomplished only with the help of water.  Water is stored between the layers of the skin. When heat is produced in the body, the water stored in the skin layers comes out in the form of sweat and reduces the temperature of the body.  This process helps in regulating the temperature of the body.

Promotes digestion

Digesting the food appropriately that we consume is necessary for all the nutrients to be absorbed.  Inadequate digestion results in a lower number of nutrients absorbed, which is required for producing energy.  This, in turn, results in inadequate energy supply to the body. Water plays an important role in the process of digestion.  The fiber, carbohydrates, and fat that we consume require water to digest appropriately and without water, it becomes difficult for the gut bacteria to function properly and help with digestion.  

Flushes out toxins

There are numerous waste particles which get accumulated in the body.  Usually, such waste particles are flushed out with the help of sweat, urination, and stools.  Sweat, urination, and excretion of stools require the use of water. A person who drinks an adequate amount of water is easily able to flush out these waste particles whereas a person who drinks a limited amount of water finds it difficult to remove these waste particles from the body.

Regulates blood pressure

Blood pressure is the pressure exerted on the arteries due to the formation of plaque.  Plaque formation causes the blood vessels to become narrow and the amount of blood that can pass through the blood vessels reduces.  Due to this, there is pressure exerted on the arteries, which is medically termed as hypertension. Hypertension is considered a major risk factor for the cause of heart diseases.  Studies have indicated that inadequate intake of water may lead to thickening of the blood, which can reduce adequate blood flow.

Prevents kidney stones

Kidneys function by accumulating waste particles from the blood as well as managing unwanted water, which is excreted in the form of urine.  The waste particles that are accumulated in the kidney may attach to one another and cause kidney stones. The formation of kidney stones is directly related to inadequate intake of water.  When there is not enough water consumed, the waste particles in the kidneys are not flushed out and hence there are higher chances of kidney stone formation.

Increases exercise tolerance

Exercising involves continuous stress that is exerted on the muscles and bones.  There is an increased chance of tearing a muscle during an exercise regimen. There is also an increased level of heat produced in the body while exercising.  All these factors require the use of water, which helps in reducing the body temperature as well as providing cushioning to the bones and muscles.

Promotes weight loss

Losing weight is one of the most difficult tasks to achieve.  Consuming water instead of sugary beverages helps in reducing the calorie intake and helps a person to stay hydrated as well as help in better exercise tolerance.  Drinking more water also increases resting energy expenditure. All of these factors help in reducing weight.

Science-backed tips on when to drink water

People generally drink water when they feel thirsty, but there are also other instances when it is necessary to drink water.

  • Drink water right after you get up in the morning.
  • It is important to drink water before a meal.
  • Always drink water when you feel hungry
  • Make a habit to drink water before and after a workout.
  • Drink water when feeling weak and tired.
  • Drink large quantities of water when you are ill.

How much water should you drink?

Since our body is made up of 60% of water, it is very important to drink adequate amounts of water on a daily basis.  The quantity of water intake may depend on a few factors namely age, sex, activity level, as well as other factors such as breastfeeding or pregnant.

  • The recommended dosage for adults includes 131 ounces for men and 95 ounces for women.
  • The recommended dosage for children varies according to the age group.  Children between age 4 and 8 years require 40 ounces per day. Children between 9 and 13 years require 56-64 ounces of water.  Children between 14 and 18 years require 64-88 ounces of water per day.
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women require a substantially higher intake of water.  A pregnant woman would require a minimum of 80 ounces or higher a day. A breastfeeding woman would require around 104 ounces or higher a day.

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