Thursday, May 5, 2011

Water - how much should you drink

For ... EVER, I have heard, been told, and been telling others to drink at least 8 cups -  8 oz of water a day.    Seems  easy enough to do and healthy.  When you break it down into ounces per hour that amounts to about 4 ounces every hour for an average of 16 hours we spend awake.  So what's the big deal? Why can't we drink more than one or two glasses a day?

As with anything related to health, the requirements for what we need and want changes daily it seems.  I recently read an article in Woman's Day magazine that detailed the many ways we can stay hydrated and how to know if we are lacking fluids in our diet.  I am going to share some of the key points with you because I think it's important that we stay up to date with nutritional requirements and how to supplement what we are lacking.

From WD:  "You don't really need to drink eight glasses of water a day."  I've heard this before but that's where it ended.  I found it hard to believe that anyone would support  this statement because I do believe we all need a certain amount of fluids to maintain our bodies' homeostasis.  However, the article in WD goes on to say that "your needs fluctuate from day to day depending on your activities, what you eat and how often, and the weather." If you spend your day eating water based fruits and veggies you are less likely to need 64 ounces of water that day; if you go for  a long run and drink only two cups of water and eat foods with little water in them, you will notice a difference in the color of your urine -- lemonade color is good, apple juice color, not so good.

From WD: "Drinking coffee--or any caffeinated beverage--won't make you dehydrated." Thank Goodness because I like my morning coffee and I love drinking tea in the afternoon.  So the studies now say that caffeine makes you urinate but not more than water would so you're good.

From WD:  "Water alone isn't a weightloss aid." No, it's not. Just because you're drinking 64 oz a day doesn't mean you're suddenly going to start burning off the fat; however, drinking water can help you really determine if you're hungry, bored or actually thirsty.  Many times we confuse hunger for thirst so we eat.  Try drinking some water or tea before giving in to the undesireable hunger pangs.

In researching the health benefits of water I came across this article at the Mayo Clinic website, which pretty much sums it all up:


"Water is your body's principal chemical component and makes up about 60 percent of your body weight. Every system in your body depends on water. For example, water flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues. Lack of water can lead to dehydration, a condition that occurs when you don't have enough water in your body to carry out normal functions. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired."


As with anything else, everything in moderation.  An excess of water in the kidneys can lead to electrolyte imbalance.  Listen to your body, drink enough water to stay hydrated, keep your urine light in color. Drink between meals, before, during and after exercise. 


Make water your beverage of choice.


Stay Well!

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