By Cindy Copperwheat, Office Manager
There are many factors that determine how much water each person needs. Gender, body size and how active a person is as well as how much they sweat all contribute in determining the optimal amount of water needed. So for that reason, there is no set amount of water that must be consumed daily. There is a general consensus on what is a healthy amount. According to the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the average recommended daily intake of water from both food and drink is:
Men should drink around 100 ounces, or 12.5 cups of fluid
Women should drink around 73 ounces, or just over 9 cups. Fresh fruits and vegetables and all non-alcoholic fluids count towards this recommendation.
With that being said, there are times when extra amounts of water may be needed. When you have a fever. When the weather is hot. If you have diarrhea and/or vomiting, and when you sweat a lot due to physical activity. During everyday body functions our bodies lose water which needs to be replaced. We all know that we lose water from normal functions such as sweating and urination, but water is even lost when we breathe.
Although most of the fluid needed comes from drinking water, there are some foods that contain higher water content, like soups, tomatoes, oranges. According to an article from the Mayo Clinic, the average person consumes about 20 percent of their daily fluid intake from food and the rest from drinks. Milk and juices are also good sources of fluid, but beverages containing alcohol and caffeine, such as soft drinks, coffee and beer are not ideal because they often contain empty calories. I had always heard that caffeinated beverages didn’t count while tracking fluid intake because of its diuretic properties. However, studies show that fluid loss because of caffeinated drinks is minimal.
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU’RE GETTING ENOUGH?
Your fluid intake is probably adequate if you don’t frequently feel thirsty or if your urine is colorless or light yellow. Your doctor or a registered dietitian can help you determine the amount of water that’s right for you every day.
Check out some additional benefits below that James McIntosh published in an article “Fifteen Benefits of Drinking Water” for Medical New Today.
It lubricates the joints: Cartilage, found in joints and the disks of the spine, contains around 80 percent water. Long-term dehydration can reduce the joints’ shock-absorbing ability, leading to joint pain.
It forms saliva and mucus: Saliva helps us digest our food and keeps the mouth, nose, and eyes moist. This prevents friction and damage. Drinking water also keeps the mouth clean. Consumed instead of sweetened beverages, it can also reduce tooth decay.
It delivers oxygen throughout the body: Blood is more than 90 percent water, and blood carries oxygen to different parts of the body.
It boosts skin health and beauty: With dehydration, the skin can become more vulnerable to skin disorders and premature wrinkling.
It cushions the brain, spinal cord, and other sensitive tissues: Dehydration can affect brain structure and function. It is also involved in the production of hormones and neurotransmitters. Prolonged dehydration can lead to problems with thinking and reasoning.
It regulates body temperature: Water that is stored in the middle layers of the skin comes to the skin’s surface as sweat when the body heats up. As it evaporates, it cools the body.
The digestive system depends on it: The bowel needs water to work properly. Dehydration can lead to digestive problems, constipation, and an overly acidic stomach. This increases the risk of heartburn and stomach ulcers.
It flushes body waste: Water is needed in the processes of sweating and removal of urine and feces.
It helps maintain blood pressure: A lack of water can cause blood to become thicker, increasing blood pressure.
It prevents kidney damage: The kidneys regulate fluid in the body. Insufficient water can lead to kidney stones and other problems.
Weight loss: Water may also help with weight loss, if it is consumed instead of sweetened juices and sodas. “Preloading” with water before meals can help prevent overeating by creating a sense of fullness.
I was already a fan of drinking water before I started researching this subject, along with my wine of course. But I found all of the added benefits very fascinating. It sounds pretty simple to me. Drink more water!