Did you see the size of my jug??
OK crude opening to a blog but hopefully I got your attention!!
How much should I drink a day?
A healthy adult needs around 35 ml of water each day per kilogram of body weight. At least according to the general guidelines from scientific organisations. A person weighing 50 kilograms requires 1.7 litres, 60 kilograms 2.1 litres, 70 kilograms 2.4 litres and 80 kilograms 2.8 litres. The rule of thumb: the more you weigh, the more water you need.
Think there’s no such thing as consuming too much water? Drinking too much water is just a bad as not drinking enough. The recommended daily amount reflects the quantity your kidneys and heart can handle.
How much water you should drink a day also depends on age as well as on diet, activity level and the climate. A rambunctious child who romps around outside all afternoon without stopping needs to drink more than a bookworm who passes the time sitting on the bed with his or her head in a magical world. That said, the recommendations for a healthy child are around 1.1 litres per day – no matter how thirsty he or she is.
The elderly have a decreased sense of thirst and drink less overall. The consequences can range from cardiovascular problems to a weakened immune system. Ideally, they should drink 1.5 litres of water daily to protect from life-threatening dehydration.
Our bodies are around 60% water, give or take.
It is commonly recommended to drink:
- minimum 2 litres per day (if you are a litres kinda gal)
- eight x 8-ounce glasses of water per day (the 8×8 rule)
- or half your body weight in pounds in fl ounces.
Whatever number you reach for you and your body and your personal goals, staying hydrated is not only healthy, it is essential for many reasons.
Here are 7 evidence-based health benefits of drinking plenty of water.
- Water helps calm Anxiety and alleviate Depression
Studies link depression to dehydration because 85% of brain tissue is water.
Dehydration causes energy generation in the brain to decrease. So, lack of water can be the culprit in any of these disorders really.
However, like in many other medical areas, contaminated water can also cause health problems. It is a known that lead in water can cause damage to nervous systems, with depression being one of the most common results of lead-filled water. A reverse osmosis filter is one the best ways to ensure that you are drinking safe water. Now, let’s move on to more ways water can help us.
There are several types of anxiety disorders, the most common being general anxiety disorder (GAD). Beverages with caffeine can increase anxiety. Replacing soda, tea and coffee with water is a good place to start. It is important to limit the consumption of caffeine, sugary drinks and alcohol. All of these liquids cause dehydration because it takes the body even more water to remove it from your body. Depending on the drink it can take your body up to 3 times the amount of water to process that drink.
For example if you drink 12oz of beer it will take your body 36 ounces of water to flush out that beer. If you don’t give your body the amount of water it needs it will take it from your bones, muscles, and most importantly your brain.
Some studies show that water is a great “anxiety quencher”. When the body is dehydrated, in can actually induce anxiety and nervousness.
BOTTOM LINE: When we are dehydrated our cells feel it at the molecular level and communicate this to the subconscious as an underline subtle anxiety or threat to survival. The key to rebalance this deficit of fluids is to drink eight glasses of fresh water a day. Water alone may not cure Depression and other related disorders, but it can sure calm those nerves!
- Water Helps to Maximize Physical Performance
If we do not stay hydrated, physical performance can suffer.
This is particularly important during intense exercise or high heat.
Dehydration can have a noticeable effect if you lose as little as 2% of your body’s water content. However, it is not uncommon for athletes to lose up to 6-10% of their water weight via sweat (1Trusted Source, 2).
This can lead to altered body temperature control, reduced motivation, increased fatigue and make exercise feel much more difficult, both physically and mentally (3Trusted Source).
Optimal hydration has been shown to prevent this from happening, and may even reduce the oxidative stress that occurs during high intensity exercise. This is not surprising when you consider that muscle is about 80% water (4Trusted Source, 5).
So, if you exercise intensely and tend to sweat, then staying hydrated can help you perform at your absolute best.
BOTTOM LINE: Losing as little as 2% of your body’s water content can significantly impair physical performance.
- Hydration Has a Major Effect on Energy Levels and Brain Function
Your brain is strongly influenced by hydration status.
Studies show that even mild dehydration (1-3% of body weight) can impair many aspects of brain function.
In a study of young women, fluid loss of 1.36% after exercise impaired both mood and concentration, and increased the frequency of headaches (6Trusted Source).
Another similar study, this time in young men, showed that fluid loss of 1.59% was detrimental to working memory and increased feelings of anxiety and fatigue (7Trusted Source).
A 1-3% fluid loss equals about 1.5-4.5 lbs (0.5-2 kg) of body weight loss for a 150 lbs (68 kg) person. This can easily occur through normal daily activities, let alone during exercise or high heat.
Many other studies, ranging from children to the elderly, have shown that mild dehydration can impair mood, memory and brain performance (8Trusted Source, 9Trusted Source, 10Trusted Source, 11Trusted Source, 12, 13Trusted Source).
BOTTOM LINE: Mild dehydration (fluid loss of 1-3%) can impair energy levels and mood, and lead to major reductions in memory and brain performance.
- Drinking Water May Help to Prevent and Treat Headaches
Several studies have shown that water can relieve headaches in those who are dehydrated (16Trusted Source).
However, this appears to depend on the type of headache.
One study of 18 people found that water had no effect on the frequency of headaches, but did reduce the intensity and duration somewhat (17Trusted Source).
BOTTOM LINE: Drinking water can sometimes help relieve headache symptoms, especially in people who are dehydrated.
- Drinking More Water May Help Relieve Constipation
Constipation is a common problem, characterized by infrequent bowel movements and difficulty passing stool.
Increasing fluid intake is often recommended as a part of the treatment protocol, and there is some evidence to back this up.
That said, it is best to not drink water or any other drinks other than orange juice or red wine whilst eating as the water can dilute your digestive enzymes (which also begin to decrease in women over 40) which mean that you will not absorb or digest optimially and therefore can lead to nutritionally deficiencies.
BOTTOM LINE: Drinking plenty of water can help prevent and relieve constipation, especially in women who generally do not drink enough water or have conditions like IBS or hormonal imbalances.
- Water Helps Prevent Hangovers
A hangover refers to the unpleasant symptoms experienced after drinking alcohol.
Although dehydration is not the main cause of hangovers, it can cause symptoms like thirst, fatigue, headache and dry mouth.
A good way to reduce hangovers is to drink a glass of water between drinks, and to have at least one big glass of water before going to bed.
BOTTOM LINE: Hangovers are partly caused by dehydration, and drinking water can help reduce some of the main symptoms of hangovers.
- Drinking More Water Can Help With Weight Loss
Drinking plenty of water can help you lose weight.
This is due to the fact that water can increase satiety and boost your metabolic rate.
This means that drinking 2 liters of water every day can increase your total energy expenditure by up to 96 calories per day.
In one study, dieters who drank half a liter of water before meals lost 44% more weight, over a period of 12 weeks (30Trusted Source).
Download our Drink Water Cheat Sheet inclyding 3 Steps to stay hydrated
3 Steps you can take today to stay hydrated:
- Hydration Potion
- Buy yourself a big bottle and drink it
- Get some accountabiliy- our challenge or download the Water Balance app