How much water should we drink?

We have probably asked ourselves at one point or another, how much fluid do we need to drink everyday? We have all heard the typical answer, 8 glasses per day, but is this correct?

Why is water so important?

The human body is made up of about 60-70% water (higher in infants, lower in older adults). Water is needed for every chemical reaction in our body as well as to properly metabolize food.

How much should we drink?

The amount of fluid each person requires varies depending on a number of factors such as age, gender, size, level of activity and environmental temperature.

Our body loses about 2.5 liters of fluid everyday when we urinate (~1.5 liters), breathe, sweat and defecate (~1 liter altogether). About 20% of our fluid intake comes from food and the remaining 80% from beverages, therefore drinking fluids is extremely important to meet our body’s needs.

According to the Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology (CSEP), women should drink about 2.2 L/9 cups (pregnant or lactating women should drink more), and men about 3 L/13 cups.

What should we drink?

Beverages can include water, juice, milk, and even tea or coffee. Try to choose healthier drinks as part of a healthy, balanced diet. Water is obviously the best option since other beverages can be high in sugar and caffeine. Sugary beverages are a primary culprit for the obesity epidemic so make an effort not to drink your calories!

Important Note: Coffee and tea should be limited to no more than 2 cups a day to be counted as part of your fluid intake. If you’re over your limit, these drinks can contribute to dehydration and excessive urination. Everyone is different so know your body.

Dehydration

Most of us aren’t drinking enough water. If you feel thirsty, your body is actually trying to let you know that you are already dehydrated. Common signs of dehydration include a lack of energy, headache, dizziness, dark-colored urine and decreased urination.

Overhydration (Hyponatremia)

It’s important to be aware that drinking too much water  can also be dangerous, since it dilutes the amount of sodium in the blood which can cause many health problems. Most people don’t have to worry about this, however, those exercising in hot or humid conditions or those participating in endurance events (such as a marathon) should be cautious and ensure that they are properly hydrated. One way to avoid over drinking is to drink small amounts of fluid over regular intervals.

Hope that this information has been beneficial. Choose your beverage of choice wisely, keep safe, and have fun!

Please comment below to start some discussion. Let me know your favorite beverage… FYI mine is: Fresh fruit&veggie juices and…water 😛

References and Resources:

Fluid for active Canadians

Canada’s Food Guide

U.S Dietary Reference Intake for Water

National Health Service UK on Water and Drinks 

Canadian Living on water

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