We’ve all heard our bodies are made up of mostly water (2/3 actually). We all know we should drink more water. But why don’t we?
It’s boring. I forget. I don’t feel thirsty. There is water in the coffee/soda/juice I drink, so I have to be getting enough.
The reasons are endless. But here is the thing, you ARE thirsty. Your body actually is trying to tell you it’s thirsty all day. Your body needs water in order to function. Here as some of the ways your body uses water.
- Water lubricates your joints: Joint pain anyone? Whether it is Rheumatoid or Osteoarthritis, Gout, joint injury or surgery, water can help lubricate and in some causes reduce pain. It’s a huge component to prevention of many of these issues as well. (1)
- Water aids in digestion: Don’t tell me you don’t have issues with digestion unless you have a healthy poo after every meal. (2)
- Water helps regulates your body temperature: Tell me you are not cold right now. Water helps to absorb and transfer your self-made body heat. And yes, it cools you off too (hello sweat!)(3)
- Water helps aid in weight loss: It’s not just by cutting calories by decreasing sugar intake. It helps to flush out the bad stuff, and helps increase nutrient absorption. (2)
- Water improves blood oxygen circulation: Our bodies are made up of approximately 60% water including our blood and the fluid in and around our cells. It is the transport for oxygen to our tissues! (4)
- It improves energy and metabolism: By 30% even! Hello again weight support! (5)
- It improves cognition: Being dehydrated by just 2% impairs performance in tasks that require attention, psychomotor, and immediate memory skills, as well as assessment of the subjective state. (6)
Why not other drinks? They contain water right? Isn’t that enough, and what about electrolytes?
- Sugar: First off, most of the drinks (even sports drinks) that we replace for water are laden with sugar. Sugar addiction is just as, if not more, addictive as cocaine. (7)
- What about those electrolytes: There is definitely a case for electrolyte replacement….if you are an athlete or participating in significant gym activities. However in general, the average person retains appropriate electrolyte balance through food. Electrolytes after all, are simply minerals such as sodium and magnesium. So the average individual should eat a diet high in minerals and vitamins (read-vegetables) and consume the appropriate amount of water. Otherwise you are added unnecessary calories, sugar, sodium, etc. (8)
When your body tells you it is thirsty, you have already lost 1-2% of your body’s water content.(9) What are some other signs you are thirsty that you may not have realized: (10)
- Frequent headaches
- Muscle and joint pain
- Weight gain
- Lack of energy
- Dry skin, eyes, and lips/mouth
- Increased cravings for salty foods
How much should you drink? Unfortunately it is not an easy answer. It all varies on your activity levels, body size, medication intake, and so much more. Most professionals recommend to start with
- About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids for men
- About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women (11)
After that is important to work with your doctor and listen to your body. Watch for the signs above and adjust your intake appropriately.
Screeeechhh!!! Wait, 2.7 liters??? That is about 91 ounces of water! You want me to drink that much each day!?
Hold on, it’s not that bad. You actually get about 20% of your fluid intake from food. (11) The rest needs to come from drinking. That leaves about 73 ounces. Still sounds like a lot, but if you have a 16 ounce bottle, that is only about 4.5 bottles of water. Two in the morning, two in the evening, and another 8 ounces total over lunch and dinner. Easy peasy once you have done it for a couple of days and get used to taking a swig every now and then. They also have those fancy water bottles nowadays that have a reminder for you to take a drink if you are not keeping up.
Check out the short video on this page (about halfway down) on water in the body. https://www.thoughtco.com/how-much-of-your-body-is-water-609406