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How Much Water Do You Really Need Every Day? 10 Important Facts About Water Intake

Water is approximately 70% of the human body and is closely linked to our health. While the average daily loss of bodily fluids through sweat, urine, and other processes is around 2.5 liters, the replenishment typically amounts to just about 1 liter. Many people have developed a habit of drinking water frequently and in large quantities to compensate for this, but it’s not always advisable. Let’s delve into who should be particularly cautious and how to drink water more healthily.

Drinking Excessively Is Not Always Best

Indiscriminate overconsumption of water isn’t recommended for everyone. It can lead to water intoxication and stress on the body, causing sodium levels to drop below the optimal range. This can result in dizziness, vomiting, and overall weakness, particularly when consuming a large amount of water shortly after sweating. Prolonged water intoxication can even lead to increased brain pressure, potentially causing conditions such as stroke.


How Many Glasses a Day Is Adequate?

Even a 1% deficit in bodily fluids can cause severe thirst, while over 5% can lead to dehydration symptoms. Maintaining hydration is crucial for our well-being. Although the recommended daily intake varies from person to person based on weather, activity level, and weight, adults’ widely accepted average daily intake is around 1.5 to 2 liters, equivalent to about 8 to 10 cups if measured by standard 200 ml each.


Calculating Daily Water Intake

The appropriate amount of water intake varies based on factors like weather, activity level, and body weight. A common rule of thumb is to multiply your weight by 30. For instance, a person weighing 60 kg should aim to drink 1.8 liters of water per day. Drinking too much at once is not advisable, as most of the water you consume is typically excreted as urine within two hours. It’s better to divide your water intake into smaller, more frequent portions.


Drink Throughout the Day, But Avoid It Around Meal Times

Our brains have sensors that signal when our bodies need water. However, these functions tend to diminish as we age, making it possible not to feel thirsty even when our bodies lack sufficient hydration. While it’s good to sip water regularly throughout the day, it’s best to avoid drinking 30 minutes before and after meals.


Tea and Coffee Can’t Replace Water

Many people opt for tea as an alternative to water, but it’s essential to note that green tea and black tea, while containing less caffeine than coffee, still have caffeine content. Consuming caffeinated beverages, especially in excess, can have a diuretic effect, causing your body to lose more water. If you find it challenging to drink plain water, consider trying barley tea as a hydrating alternative.


Excessive Water Intake Can Be Harmful for Liver Patients

Some individuals, such as those with liver diseases, should avoid excessive water consumption. When liver function is impaired, the concentration of a protein called albumin decreases. Albumin plays a crucial role in maintaining vascular pressure, and when it’s in short supply, it becomes challenging for the body to distribute fluids properly. Drinking too much water in this condition can lead to feelings of fullness, potentially resulting in vomiting. The same caution applies to patients with congestive heart failure. In this condition, the heart struggles to pump blood effectively, leading to increased blood volume, higher blood pressure, and potential swelling due to excess fluids.


Dry Lips and Tongue Signal Dehydration

Our bodies send signals when we are dehydrated. Dry lips and frequent tongue dryness are clear signs of insufficient hydration. If your urine is dark yellow or you experience severe constipation, drinking more water is advisable. Conversely, observing the opposite symptoms or frequently seeing clear urine could indicate excessive water consumption relative to your bladder’s capacity.


What Happens If You Drink Water Only When Thirsty?

In our modern lifestyle, we often fail to consume enough water throughout the day naturally. Elderly individuals and young children, in particular, may not be sensitive to thirst signals and could become dehydrated if they only drink when thirsty. Therefore, it’s advisable to habitually drink water regularly, even when you don’t feel thirsty.

Best Practices: Drink on an Empty Stomach

It’s best to drink water on an empty stomach. Drinking water helps flush out toxins, promotes digestion, and prevents constipation. Rather than gulping it down, sip water slowly to aid absorption.


Beware of Bad Habits

While drinking water offers numerous health benefits, developing unhealthy habits can have adverse effects. Drinking cold water rapidly can significantly lower your body temperature and strain your digestive system, potentially causing digestive disorders. Additionally, relying on coffee, tea, or caffeine-containing beverages for hydration can lead to increased water loss due to their diuretic effects, potentially causing dehydration symptoms.

By. Shin Young Jeon

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