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We bathe in it, cook with it, clean with it, garden with it, swim in it, play with it and we even drink it! It is of course, water, and we literally can’t live without it. We can go without food for about a month, but deprive us of water for a week and we die.

If you habitually don't drink enough water, you may not feel thirsty.

Our bodies are about 65% water and our blood alone is 92% water. It is obviously our body’s most essential nutrient. Which means that it’s a good idea to drink plenty of it, especially since we need to replace 2 to 3 quarts a day that we lose through perspiration, respiration, elimination and normal cellular functions.

Here’s an interesting water fact:
If you habitually don’t drink enough water, you may not feel thirsty. That isn’t because you aren’t thirsty, but because if you stop drinking water your body shuts off your thirst mechanism and you don’t know that you’re thirsty! That can be a little scary.

How to know if your body needs more water

It’s a good thing to know when you are thirsty. If you are experiencing dry mouth, you are already very dehydrated. Some other signs of dehydration are: headaches, constipation, indigestion, fluid retention and weight gain.

Calculating how much water you need

So how much water should you drink? That really depends. The conventional wisdom has been eight 8-ounce glasses a day, but you may actually need more or less depending on your weight and your activity level. Someone who is very active will need more water than someone who is sedentary. A good rule of thumb is to take your body weight and divided by 2. That gives you the amount of water in ounces that you should be drinking. For example, a person who weighs 140 needs to drink 70 ounces of water daily (140 divided by 2 = 70) – that’s almost 9 “glasses.” If you are exercising, ill, pregnant or nursing you need to drink even more water. This is only an estimated guide. A nutritionist can help you find the exact amount of water based on your diet, lifestyle and eating habits.

Do sodas, coffee and tea count as water?

Many people reach for sodas, coffee or tea when they’re thirsty. A glass of iced coffee in the summer may sound good, but it actually has a negative impact on our total water intake. Coffee, tea, soda and alcohol are all diuretics and will cause the body to lose water. They also draw on your water reserves, which puts your water consumption in the negative column. Your best choice is pure water.

How pure is your water?

If you want to know how pure your tap water is, get in touch with your local water company and request an analysis of your water. They will send this to you at no charge. If your tap water is questionable your best, cheapest and easiest choice is to filter your water. You can use a water filter attached to your tap or a Britta water filter. The Environmental Working Group has a good guide to water.

The water in our food

That being said, water doesn’t only come in liquid form. Nearly all food contains some water. Summer foods are generally known as “wet foods,” because the foods we generally eat in the summer such as lettuces, tomatoes, and watermelon, all have a very high percentage of water. Eating these foods will add to our water intake. In the winter our diet is usually heavier and winter foods like pasta, roasted meats, potatoes and have less water. These foods are often starchier and are meant to keep us warm.

Most of us take water for granted (unless you live in California). It’s easy to just turn on the tap and voila – water! I think we should all acknowledge what a precious resource we have. Drink more and remember that without it we are in serious trouble.

Start your day with a big glass of water!

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How do you make sure you are getting enough water daily? Please share your tips below!

 

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Categories: Beyond, Blog, Nutrition and Wellness, and Women's Wellness.