How much water should you really drink?
We know we should be drinking eight glasses of water a day, but why? And is that really enough? Or maybe it’s too much? And does it have to be water? Do other fluids count?
Why we need water
Every single cell of your body depends on water. Water helps eliminate wastes and toxins, carries nutrients and oxygen to cells, act as a cushion for your nervous system, keeps joints lubricated, regulates our body temperature and keep body cells hydrated.
When you need more
You should drink more water when you’re in dehydrating environments (air-conditioned offices and plane cabins), hot and dry weather, suffering illnesses (vomiting or diarrhoea) or when pregnant and lactating.
When you’ve had too much
It’s possible to drink too much water, but it’s rare. Dehydration is much more common. Hyponatremia, a drop in sodium levels of the blood, is a common effect of too much water in a short period of time. Symptoms include headaches, blurred vision and cramps.
How much should you really drink a day?
It’s recommended that adults drink 2.1 to 2.6 litres (eight to 10 cups) daily, but it’s impossible to specify a quantity that suitable for every individual. The amount of water you need depends on how rapidly you are losing water from your body, which is influenced by a multitude of factors. However, the standard two litres of water (or eight glasses) is a good starting point for most people.
Does it have to be water?
It’s not all about what you drink but what you eat as well. Many fruits and vegetables, like watermelon and spinach, are 90 per cent or more water by weight. However, water is by far the best thirst quencher. It beats fruit juices, soft drinks, sport drinks and favoured mineral waters.
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