We’ve likely heard it a thousand times. Drink your water! But why? What’s so important about water and how exactly do you get enough?
Why is drinking water so important?
Water makes up more than half our body weight! It regulates our body’s temperature, lubricates our joints and helps to remove waste. Healthy regulation of body weight depends on maintaining a well hydrated system. Much of our precious water supply is lost when we sweat, go to the bathroom, and even when we breath. This water loss speeds up when the weather is hot or when we exercise, are ill or experience vomiting or diarrhea.
So how much should we drink?
There are different recommendations for how much liquid we need. On average, a person needs six to eight glasses each day. Older adults are at higher risk of dehydration and may need more.
As we age our brain cannot sense dehydration as easily as it once did. It may not signal thirst at all, or that signal could come across as “hunger.” This is why it’s great practice to have a glass of water if you’re feeling hungry…before you reach for that calorie-laden snack.
A good way to gauge if you are getting enough water is to check your urine. It should be a colorless or light yellow color on a pretty consistent basis. If it’s not, get your glass and drink more water.
Is there anything besides water you can drink?
Water remains the single most effective liquid our body requires. Drinks like juice, milk and herbal teas can also contribute to the overall amount of water we take in but beware of added sugars in juices. Tea and coffee can count towards our daily values; however, too much caffeine can work against us as it tends to be a diuretic. Try to stick to no more than about two to three 8-ounce cups of coffee.
Sports drinks are often quite high in sugar and sodium and should not be consumed on a regular basis. They are, however, great to drink if you’ve been experiencing vomiting or diarrhea because they contain electrolytes that your body may be temporarily lacking due to your illness.
Find plain old water boring?
Try jazzing it up by adding a lemon or lime wedge. Even adding fruit such as raspberries or strawberries can give it a bit of flavor. And remember this…ice cold water is not only more pleasant to drink, it’s been shown to increase your metabolism by 25%. Bonus!
Please note that health information on this website is for educational purposes and is not intended to replace advice from your physician or other healthcare professionals.