We cannot deny that 70% of our body is made up of water and all cells and organs in the body need water to function and carry out their respective processes. Deep down we know that water is important for overall health & well-being but a lot of us either forget or ignore our daily water intake.
Drinking water throughout the day helps to increase metabolism and improves digestion which results in better absorption of nutrients from the food that we eat. Keeping ourselves hydrated helps us stay away from unwanted snacking on junk food and reduces hunger pangs. Re-hydration and detoxification are not only good for the body but also helps to keep our hair lustrous and skin glowing!
The human body loses water through sweating, urination & breathing and if the body water balance is not right, one wouldn’t feel too great. Dehydration or lack of water in the body can lead to parched skin, headaches, fatigue, dizziness, irritability and muscle cramps.
A well-balanced diet along with good hydration levels ensures absorption of water-soluble vitamins that are not stored but excreted & are a part of various metabolic pathways in the human body. They are namely, Vitamin B1(thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5(pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B7(biotin), B9 (folic acid), B12 (cyanocobalamin) & Vitamin C.
Drinking 8–10 glasses per day are considered a standard recommendation but how much water should you actually be drinking? The amount of water intake for every individual depends on age, height, weight, physical activity level, humidity & temperature of the area in which they stay in and also medical conditions like renal or liver disorders, pregnancy, etc or illnesses like vomiting, constipation & diarrhea.
Considering this, the standard 8 glasses for water may be too little for some and much more for others. Since drinking water is a great habit to abide by in general, one should not cut back in case you are already having 8 glasses of water or more per day.
“The recent recommendations¹ by the Institute of Medicine says that women should consume about 2.7 liters and men should consume about 3.7 liters of total water per day coming from plain water and foods & beverages throughout the day.”
Yes, our food contains water too. Including foods with high water content in your diet like watermelon (92%), muskmelon (90%), berries (91%), oranges (88%) cucumber (95%), cabbage (92%), tomato (94%), capsicum (92%) and cauliflower (92%) helps in maintaining the water balance in the body.
One should also avoid frequent & excess consumption of alcoholic or caffeinated beverages like tea, coffee, ice tea, and cola in order to maintain their hydration. Alcohol & caffeine are diuretics and lead to excess elimination of water from the body and cause dehydration.
Opting for non-caffeinated beverages like coconut water, vegetable juices or soups, smoothies & milkshakes, infused water with fruit, lemon, basil or mint leaves and herbal tea with spices like cardamom or cinnamon can be interesting ways to make your experience of drinking water more enjoyable.
As difficult as it is, keeping track of our daily water intake may sound like extra work but here are 5 easy & doable ways to remind yourself to stay hydrated:
- Drink a glass of water 1 hour before or after your meals & every time you use the washroom.
- Carry a water bottle EVERYWHERE & fill it up once it's empty
- Set an alarm or install a tracker app on your tablet/phone.
- Make opportunities to drink water. Have a glass of water if you are going out or coming home, eating something, brushing your teeth or getting out of bed.
- Setting personal goals for the day, for example drinking X bottles of water within Y amount of time will help you keep motivated. Don’t forget to reward yourself when you hit your set target.
With that said, let’s make it a point to give our body the hydration that it needs. Old habits die hard and new habits take time to form but persistence is the key! It is okay to drink less on some days and more on others as long as you are consistent. After all, isn’t it a good practice to keep a track of something that is vital for your overall health & well-being? :)
Links & References:
Do check out my Medium blog to know more about eating right & living healthy! :)