Water Consumption 101
How much water is enough water, and when do you need more? The recommendations and advice seems to change daily. Here’s what you need to know, from staying healthy, to losing weight, to staying safe in risky situations.
The ‘8 x 8’ Rule. A popular recommended strategy in recent years has been to drink eight ounces of water eight times a day. Health experts maintain that this level of hydration provides many benefits, from fueling our energy levels to better brain functionality to helping us maintain a healthier diet. What’s more, it’s catchy and easy to remember.
Heat and exercise changes the equation. While it seems obvious, many people overlook the need to up their water intake while exercising or in any situation that induces excessive perspiration. Studies show that even mild dehydration caused by exercise or heat can harm brain function, and further dehydration starts to affect physical performance. So an ongoing intake of water during heat and exercise is a must.
Water and dieting. Much has been said about the benefits of water when trying to lose weight. While exercise and calorie intake are still the mainstay of any weight-loss endeavor, increasing your water intake can help boost your metabolism a bit. Additionally, drinking a glass of water half an hour before a meal will help curb your appetite.
Water and caffeine. Some experts have purported that caffeinated drinks, such as coffee and tea, do not count towards your water intake due to their caffeine content. In actuality, the diuretic effects of coffee and tea are very low, therefore, they do count toward your water total - as do other foods that contain water, such as fruits and vegetables.
Trust your thirst. Basic as it may sound, your thirst is an excellent indicator of when you need to drink more water, so don’t ignore your body’s signals. There are times, however, when you need to go beyond and increase your water intake, such as during intense heat or activity, during gastrointestinal illnesses or when nursing.
So keep your water bottle handy and the H2o flowing...your body and mind will thank you!