Water – How Much Do I Really Need to Drink?

Water is essential for life. You can only survive a few days without it. And being hydrated is essential for health. I could argue that water is the most essential nutrient of them all. Water is needed for every cell and function in your body.

Water is a huge part of your blood; it cushions your joints and aids digestion. It helps stabilize your blood pressure and heart beat. It helps to regulate your body temperature and helps maintain electrolyte (mineral) balance. And that’s just a few of its roles.

Dehydration can impair mood and concentration, and contribute to headaches and dizziness. It can reduce your physical endurance, and increase the risk for kidney stones and constipation. Extreme dehydration can cause heat stroke.

So, water is critical for life and health.

But, just as way too little water is life-threatening, so is way too much. As with most things in health and wellness, there is a healthy balance to be reached.

But, there are conflicting opinions as to how much water to drink. Is there a magic number for everyone? What counts toward water intake?

Let’s dive right in.

 

HOW MUCH WATER DO I NEED?

 

Once upon a time, there was a magic number called “8x8.” This was the recommendation to drink eight-8 oz glasses of water every day; that’s about 2 litres of water.

Over time, we’ve realized that imposing this external “one size fits all” rule may not be the best approach. Now, many health professionals recommend drinking according to thirst. You don’t need to go overboard forcing down glasses of water when you’re not thirsty. Just pay attention to your thirst mechanism. We have complex hormonal and neurological processes that are constantly monitoring how hydrated we are. And for healthy adults, this system is very reliable.

Besides thirst, pay attention to how dark and concentrated your urine is. The darker your urine, the more effort your body is making to hold on to the water it has. Urine is still getting rid of the waste, but in a smaller volume of water, so it looks darker.

There are a few other things to consider when evaluating your hydration status. If you’re sweating a lot, or are in a hot/humid climate drink more. Breastfeeding moms, elderly people, and people at risk of kidney stones need to drink more water too. So do people who experience vomiting and/or diarrhea, as both can quickly dehydrate our bodies.

So, ditch the “one size fits all” external rule, and pay more attention to your body’s subtle cues for water.

 

WHAT COUNTS TOWARD MY WATER INTAKE?

 

All fluids and foods containing water contribute to your daily needs.

Water is usually the best choice. If you’re not drinking pure water, consider the effects that the other ingredients have on your body. Drinks containing sugar, alcohol, and caffeine will have effects besides hydration. Sugar can mess with your blood sugar balance. Alcohol can make you feel “buzzed.” And caffeine can keep you awake. Let’s talk a bit more about caffeine for a second.

Caffeine is the infamous “dehydrator,” right? Well, not so much. If you take high dose caffeine pills, then sure, they cause fluid loss. But the idea that coffee and tea don’t count toward your water intake is an old myth. While caffeine may make you have to go to the bathroom more, that effect isn’t strong enough to negate the hydrating effects of its water. Plus, if you’re tolerant to it (i.e., regularly drink it) then the effect is even smaller. So, you don’t need to counteract your daily cup(s) of coffee and/or tea.

Also, many foods contain significant amounts of water. Especially fruits and vegetables like cabbage, cantaloupe, watermelon, strawberries, celery, spinach, lettuce, apples, pears, oranges, grapes, carrots, and pineapple. These foods are over 80% water, so they are good sources of hydration.

So, you don’t need to count your plain water intake as your only source of hydration. All fluids and foods with water count.

 

CONCLUSION

 

There is no magic number of the amount of water you need. Everyone is different. Children, pregnant women, elderly people need more. Episodes of vomiting or diarrhea will also increase your short-term need for more water. The most important thing is to pay attention to your thirst. Other signs you need more water are dark urine, sweating, constipation, and kidney stones.

Water is your best source of fluids. But other liquids, including caffeinated ones, help too. Just consider the effects the other ingredients have on your health as well. And many fruits and vegetables are over 80% water so don’t forget about them.

Let me know in the comments: What’s your favourite way to hydrate?

 

RECIPE (HYDRATION): TASTY HYDRATING TEAS

You may not love the taste (or lack thereof) of plain water. One thing you can do is add some sliced or frozen fruit to your water.

Since we learned that you could hydrate just as well with other water-containing beverages, here are some of my favourite herbal teas you can drink hot or cold.

  • Hibiscus
  • Lemon
  • Peppermint
  • Rooibos
  • Chamomile
  • Lavender
  • Ginger
  • Lemon Balm
  • Rose Hips
  • Lemon Verbena

 

 

INSTRUCTIONS

Hot tea – Place tea bags in a pot (1 per cup) and add boiling water. Steep for 5 minutes and add a touch of honey and slice of lemon, if desired. Serve.

Iced tea – Place tea bags in a pot (2 per cup) and add boiling water. Steep for 5 minutes and add a touch of honey, if desired. Chill. Add ice to a glass and fill with cold tea.

TIP: Freeze berries in your ice cubes to make your iced tea more beautiful and nutritious.

Serve & enjoy!

 

References:

https://authoritynutrition.com/how-much-water-should-you-drink-per-day/

http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/water-water-everywhere-2016110310577

http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-much-water-should-you-drink

http://neurotrition.ca/blog/why-you-should-raise-your-glass-water

About Me


Hi, I’m Tracy! I create food solutions to feed your life goals. I’m a Nutritionist, chocoholic + superhero fan. Mom to three, wife to one, crazy about all four, and food! When you work with me you’ll learn to savour life and nourish all that it has to offer.

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14 hours ago

Tracy Houle Nutrition
Nothing like a simple dinner with minimal ingredients and fresh flavours!

Trying to extend my trip with the flavours of Italy! 🤷🏻‍♀️😉🇮🇹

#foodie #simplerecipes #fresh #cutlets #lemon #foodmadegood #healthyfoodmadeeasy #dinner #paleo #digestionsupport #basil #ontherun #fastfood #healthy

Nothing like a simple dinner with minimal ingredients and fresh flavours!

Trying to extend my trip with the flavours of Italy! 🤷🏻‍♀️😉🇮🇹

#foodie #simplerecipes #fresh #cutlets #lemon #foodmadegood #healthyfoodmadeeasy #dinner #paleo #digestionsupport #basil #ontherun #fastfood #healthy
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Looks delicious 😋!

2 days ago

Tracy Houle Nutrition

Well, that’s a wrap!! Our Italian family adventure has come to an end! The kids are totally bummed 🙁 out that it’s over and I’m elated that they had such a wonderful time and now miss Italy - like I always do. 🇮🇹 🙂

From the southern most point of the heel, all the way up the coast to the beautiful gargano park that is the spur, to the bustling beach side city of Pescara - and a bunch of stops along the way; Veni Vidi Vici! 😉

Here are just a few notes if you decide to venture into the beautiful country that is Italy:

1. If you venture out of the major tourist areas, expect a slower pace of life and stores to be closed in the middle of the day.

2. Don’t expect a grande latte of any sort, it’s espresso after noon only!

3. If you don’t like fish, get over it - you’ll be missing out. The fish in most parts is literally plucked from the sea within days of eating it, you won’t regret it!

4. Italians might be slow paced but you can’t tell from the driving. For some reason they seem like they are in a hurry to get stuff done when they’re on the road. 🚗

5. Bring money for shopping and make sure you have at least 10 pounds to spare in your luggage when you pack for your trip! Can’t even tell you how many shoes were bought for this family!! 👟😆 Luckily I thought ahead! 😊

6. Italians still don’t believe in queuing up, so if you see what should be a line-up but is just a mash up of people and confusion - try and have a sense of humor about it! No sense in getting frustrated about a different way of life on your vacay! But don’t be shy about telling them to get behind you! I did and they did! 😉😆

That’s it! I’m off to plan next years trip. 😉😆🇮🇹

#vacation #italy #familytrip #salento #vacaymode #rome #pescara #food #lecce #familyadventure #beachlife #heartinitaly #summer2019 #foodie #familylife #pizza #pasta #icecream @ Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore Abitazione Parroco
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Beautiful pictures! It looks like an unforgettable time with great memories! So glad you all had a great time!

Beautiful pictures Tracy - and you pretty much summed up Italy the way I remember it 😉

6 days ago

Tracy Houle Nutrition

When folks travel to Italy the one thing you’ll alway hear about is how delicious the food is, or how foods that are not tolerated well in North America feel fine in Italy!

This trip has been no exception!

Food is still extremely valued and Italians don’t mess around with quality and freshness.

Everything we’ve eaten feels like it was picked fresh today. We’ve even eaten chicken from my husbands great-aunts backyard. (Not caught yesterday 😉)

The last picture is a huge rosemary bush that has the most beautiful aroma! 🌱

#chickencoup #tomatoes #eggplant #pomegranate #figtree #rosemary #gardenlife #growyourfood #quality #over #quantity #fresh #italylife @ Manoppello, Italy
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