Am I drinking enough water?
By Brent Fairbanks
Determine how much water you need. You've probably heard the "8 by 8" rule - drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day (2 quarts) - but the amount of water a person needs varies depending on his or her weight and activity level. Another way to determine your specific recommended water intake is to divide your weight (in pounds) by two. The resulting number is the number of ounces of water you need each day. For example, if you weigh 150 lbs., strive to drink 75 ounces of water daily. Keep in mind that these recommended intake numbers are controversial and some experts believe they are a gross exaggeration. See "warnings" below for more information.
Measure your daily intake of water. Do this for a few days. If you find that you're drinking less than the recommended quantity, try some of the following tips:
1) Carry water with you everywhere you go in a bottle or other container. Note here that recent research continuously shows plastic bottles leach toxic chemicals into water. It is highly recommended that one-use glass containers such as an old Pierre bottle. Begin keeping all your glass bottles, and soon you'll find the ideal glass bottle for you. Remember, water will never become toxic in glass containers! Before long, you'll find yourself reaching for it without a second thought.
2) Keep a glass or cup of water next to you whenever you'll be sitting down for a long time, such as when you're at your desk at work. Drink from it regularly as you're working.
3) Try wearing a digital watch that beeps at the beginning of each hour. Use that as a reminder to pour yourself a glass of water. Vow to drink that water before the next beep. If you drink only one small (6 ounce or 180 ml) cup per hour, you'll have consumed 48 ounces (1.4 liters) by the end of an 8-hour workday.
4) Get a water purification system. Purified water tastes very good and may help make drinking water more appealing to you. Be aware, though, that as you grow accustomed to purified water, you may find that tap water leaves a bad taste in your mouth, even though it may be better for your teeth. (Be aware, however, that Fluoride is a known toxin)
5) Add lemons or limes to your water. This makes it taste better and makes you want to drink more of it. Be careful not to make it too sour, just a splash of sourness should do the trick. Cucumber slices can also be added to a glass of water. Some mint leaves can be added to a pitcher of water which should be allowed to sit overnight. These are cheap alternatives to the bottled flavored water.
6) Eat water rich foods, such as fruits like watermelon, which is 92% water by weight. Blend up some seedless fresh watermelon flesh with some ice and place a few sprigs of mint (optional) - one of the most refreshing drinks, especially for the summertime. Cranberry juice is also another option, and has a bitter taste. Patients suffering from urinary infection caused by insufficient intake of water should drink cranberry juice and eat watermelon if not plain water everyday. A tomato is 95% water. An egg is about 74% water. An uncooked piece of lean meat is about 70% water.
7) Keep water cold if it tastes better for you. Keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator at home. Add ice or freeze water in a sports bottle before taking it with you, it will eventually melt and stay cold. However, too cold water will cost your body energy to heat it to body temperature.
Climate can drastically change how much water you need. On hot days that require you to be outside, you should drink more water to counteract the fluids you lose when you sweat. This not only keeps your body hydrated, it can prevent heat-related illness.
Warnings for water consumption
1) Increasing your water intake may cause you to have to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. To avoid this, you may want to stop drinking water a few hours before bedtime--or make sure you visit the toilet before bed.
2) While adequate water is essential to health, it is possible to drink too much water or any other beverage, and there has been considerable scientific debate surrounding how much water a person really needs per day. 3) People with some heart conditions, high blood pressure or swelling of the lower legs (edema) need to avoid excess water. If you have a history of kidney problems, especially if you have had a transplant, consult your doctor before increasing your fluid intakes.
4) You shouldn't drink too much water while eating as it dilutes your stomach acid and can cause digestion problems.
5) If you live in a place with a lot of heat (e.g., the desert), you will have to drink extra water.
6) It is possible to "overdose" on water. Water intoxication occurs when the electrolytes in the body are so diluted that they have trouble keeping the balance of water even inside and outside of individual cells. What that means is that drinking too much water (while not getting enough electrolytes) can cause your cells to burst. If you plan on doing heavy prolonged exercise, be sure to alternate sports drinks with regular water to keep your electrolytes in balance.
7) Many electrolyte drinks contain acetic acid which can increase rates of tooth decay. There is no real reason to drink electrolyte drinks unless you are heavily exercising (see above).
8) Be aware that some elderly individuals with difficulty walking may avoid drinking adequate amounts of water, as they have difficulty transferring/walking to the bathroom. In such cases, a bedside commode may be useful. If you are caring for such an individual, encourage them to drink the necessary amount of water and reassure him/her that you can help them with the transfer to the commode.
9) It is not recommended that you reuse plastic water bottles that are intended for one time use, specifically number one plastics. These bottles leach chemicals into your water after multiple uses. If you wish to, always have water around use a water bottle. Bottles like Sigg or other canteens are now more favorable due to the risk of chemical leeching when using plastic products.
To learn more about the benefits of water, weight loss and getting healthy, get a copy of my 'weight loss myths' book.
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