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Drinking Water: How Much is Enough?

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Everyone who is anyone talks about how good water is for your body and soul, from your grandma to your gym instructor and health experts on TV; eight glasses of water is what everyone recommends that you guzzle down to stay healthy and hydrated.

How does water actually help you?

  • Water helps to maximize physical performance
    • If you do not stay hydrated, physical performance can suffer. This is particularly important during intense exercise or high heat.
  • Hydration has a major effect on energy levels and brain function
    • The brain is strongly influenced by hydration status. Studies show that even mild dehydration (1-3% of body weight) can impair many aspects of brain function.
  • Drinking water may help to prevent and treat headaches
    • Dehydration can trigger headaches and migraines in some individuals. Research has shown that water can relieve headaches in those who are dehydrated.
  • Drinking more water may help relieve constipation
    • Increasing fluid intake is often used as a treatment for constipation. Low water consumption appears to be a risk factor for constipation in both young and elderly individuals
  • Drinking more water can help with weight loss
    • Drinking plenty of water can help in losing weight. This is due to the fact that water can increase satiety and boost the metabolic rate.

Just as much as drinking water is important, did you know that it’s possible to drink too much?

  • Drinking too much fluid can lead to hyponatremia, which is when sodium in blood becomes too diluted.
  • Symptoms of hyponatremia include confusion, headaches, nausea and bloating, which can be easily confused with dehydration.
  • In severe cases, hyponatremia can lead to seizures, organ failure and even death.

So how do you know how much water you need?

  • For starters, don’t rely solely on thirst
  • Weigh yourself daily for a week, to check hydration. Ideally, your body weight shouldn’t fluctuate too much.
  • Notice how much you urinate and its color in the morning.
  • Aim to wake feeling hydrated. If you’re thirsty when you get out of bed in the morning, you may not be consuming enough fluids.
  • Drink one thing a day that’s not water.