How Much Water Should You Drink A Day
Water intake is absolutely imperative for sustaining life. But in order to optimize the body's ability to perform vital processes, adequate intake must be achieved. So the real question is, "How much water should you drink a day?"
Water: Why Do You Need It?
Though the intake of water is desirable on a hot day or following an intense workout, the body's need for water is much more than a personal sensation. Adequate water intake is imperative for the following functions:
• Forms saliva and digests foods to dissolve and utilize nutrients.
• Carries out waste products from the body, mostly excreted through the urine.
• Fosters cell growth, reproduction, and survivability.
• Manufactures neurotransmitters and sends electrical signals throughout the body.
• Regulates body temperature, especially through sweat and respiration processes.
• Helps to deliver life-sustaining oxygen to all parts of the body.
• Lubricates moving joints between bones.
In addition to the essential functions listed above, research has further concluded water intake may be beneficial in reducing chronic diseases. Published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1999, a 10-year study of nearly 48,000 men found the risk of bladder cancer fell seven percent for every cup of water the subjects drank per day. Other studies have found that the more water subjects drank, the fewer precancerous colon polyps. A further study in the American Journal of Epidemiology, among 20,000 Seventh-day Adventists in California, found women who drank at least five glasses of water a day had a 41 percent lower risk of fatal heart disease while men had a 54 percent lower risk compared to those who drank just two glasses a day.
How Much Water Should You Drink a Day?
Answering this question is quite generic, as water intake is completely individualized. However, general recommendations for daily water intake suggests at least 64-ounces a day, or eight 8-ounce cups. These numbers reflect ages two and up, as infants should be consuming mostly breast milk or formulas for vital growth. But on the opposite end of the spectrum, the elderly population is at high risk for dehydration. Though the general 64-ounces is still recommended, it is important to reduce dehydration risk by encouraging and prompting daily water intake. And when it comes to water intake for weight loss, there fundamentally is no magic number. Instead, try focusing on increasing water intake, as the general population consumes only half of the recommended intake of approximately four cups. Additionally, drinking water over sugary beverages will naturally cut calories.
Other factors that influence daily water intake are physical activity, health diseases and conditions. Individuals who include rigorous exercise in their lifestyle patterns should aim for at least nine cups of water, or 72 ounces. Replenishing electrolytes lost in sweat with sports drinks may be an alternative route for reducing dehydration and electrolyte imbalances in exercisers and athletes. Additionally, specific health conditions may trigger the need for fluid restriction - congestive heart failure and kidney disease being two of the many. Some medications may also cause a dry mouth and dehydration.
Drinking water does not have to a feat. Try drinking a glass of water right when you wake up, consume water-filled fruits (such as watermelon and tomatoes), and drink water following exercise. For more tips and hacks to achieve adequate water intake, click here.