Water Intake and Hydration
How much water should I drink?
It’s a question you’ve probably asked yourself at least once in your life! There are so many different resources and tips on what your daily intake should be, and it can get pretty confusing. Your body is as much as 75% water, and dehydration occurs when you lose more than 3% of that amount. So how much water should you drink to stay hydrated? The general rule is about eight 12-ounce cups per day for adults, and about five 12-ounce cups for preteens and teenagers.
One suggestion Doctor Becerra has for calculating your specific need for water is this: take your body weight, half that number, and that’s the number of ounces you should drink each day. With this method, you’re able to tailor your intake to your body’s needs.
Another thing to keep in mind, however, is your daily activity. If you’re exercising and losing a lot of water through perspiration, you need to ensure that you’re counteracting that loss.
Picking a water bottle is a big help! I found this one at Stater Brothers, for about $7. It’s helpful for me to know that I have to drink three of these per day – that way I don’t have to count ounces and try to remember what I’ve had throughout the day.
What’s the benefit of drinking more water?
Aside from counteracting dehydration, which happens to be pretty important, water has numerous benefits! Drinking cold water has been shown to improve your metabolism; your body has to burn a few extra calories to warm it up in your stomach. You won’t start shedding pounds simply by chugging cups of cold water, but every little bit counts.
Two other benefits to drinking water? Clearer skin and a curbed appetite! When the cells in your body have enough water, they’re able to work at their optimum purpose. For your skin, this means that it will look healthier and less tired. As for your appetite, water is just a good way to distinguish between true hunger and cravings often from emotional stress. Before you grab a snack, drink a glass of water, and then wait about ten minutes. If you still feel hungry, make sure you grab something healthy so it benefits your body!
Can you drink too much water?
Actually, you can – it’s just a very uncommon condition called water intoxication. In a nutshell, water intoxication happens when you drink too much water at once and don’t have the necessary electrolytes (like sodium, potassium, and magnesium) to balance out the pressure in cell walls. The trick isn’t to drink less water, but to spread out the time in which you drink the water. This is why it’s important to drink water throughout the day, and not all at once at night. Imagine trying to drink almost 100 ounces in a two hour span!
As far as electrolytes, make sure you’re eating the right foods throughout the day and after exercising. Bananas are an excellent source of potassium, as are green leafy veggies. Milk or yogurt provide calcium, and nuts and lentils are full of magnesium. Gatorade, as great as it tastes, is probably not the first thing you should go to for necessary vitamins and minerals. It does have the electrolytes you need, but it can also be full of unnecessary sugars!
Again, water isn’t a cure-all, but it helps to keep your body working at its best.