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How Much Water Should I Be Drinking?

It seems like every one with good skin or toned body down to ‘drinking lots of water’. But water isn’t the latest fad – it performs a range of vital functions in our body.

How much water do I need to drink every day? Do you really need eight glasses per day to stay healthy?

Why do you need water?

Water actually makes up to approx. 60% of our body weight, and it’s needed in every process in our body.

We use water in our body to:

Help regulate our temperature

Keep our joints, eyes and muscles lubricated

Get rid of waste via sweat, urine or bowel movements

Water is essential for life. Without it, we would only be able to survive for a few days.

What happens to you if you don’t drink enough water?

If you don’t drink enough water, you will become dehydrated. Dehydration can affect your body and brain in a number of ways. You may feel tired, find it hard to concentrate, experience mild memory problems, lack motivation and find that your performance when training or working out drops significantly.

You can tell if you’re drinking enough by checking the colour of your urine. It should be a pale-yellow colour. Dark, cloudy or strong-smelling urine is a sign you’re dehydrated, so start upping your fluid intake as soon as possible if this happens.

How many litres of water should I drink a day?

If you’ve ever wondered, ‘how much water should I drink each day?’, then it’s important to note here that the ‘rule’ about drinking eight glasses of water a day isn’t ‘technically’ true.

Research published in the British Medical Journal in 2007 explored where the idea that we need eight glasses every day for hydration comes from. Researchers found that this figure is based on a 1945 study, which stated we need 2.5 litres of water a day. The truth is,  that most of this could be found in our food!

The fact that a lot of the water we need can we found in our food that seems to have been forgotten over the years and so the study has been misinterpreted as claiming we need eight glasses of water a day.

The NHS suggest that we should consume six to eight glasses of fluid a day, that’s about 1.2 litres. This includes water, lower fat milk, tea and coffee. And don’t worry about the fact that tea and coffee can cause dehydration.

Although they are diuretics, which make you wee more often, a 2003 study by the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences at Loughborough University found there was no evidence that coffee led to dehydration. The study concluded that coffee actually had ‘similar hydrating qualities’ to water.

When you might need to drink more water

Most of us will only need six to eight glasses of fluid a day, but there are times you may need more. These include after exercise – especially if you get sweaty – if you’ve been ill with vomiting and diarrhoea, or are in a hot climate.

If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, you may also need to increase your fluids.

How should I drink my water?

Don’t drink loads of water straight after a workout all in one go. This can stimulate urine production, which in turn means your body will retain less of the water you just consumed. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends drinking 2 litres of water in 500ml amounts, every 20 to 30 minutes, instead.

The benefits of Drinking 2 litres of water a day

As well as the benefits we covered above, drinking plenty of water every day can:

  1. Reduce Water Retention
  2. Help reduce wrinkles
  3. Prevent headaches
  4. Clear your skin
  5. Improve concentration & focus
  6. Boost our energy levels

Easy ways to stay hydrated

If you are bored of drinking water, try drinking herbal teas, coconut water, or adding slices of fruit for flavour to your water bottle instead.

Approximately 25% of the water we consume comes from our food, so include more foods with a high water-content. The US Department of Agriculture says these are:

Strawberries, watermelons, spinach (90 – 99% water)

Apples, grapes, broccoli (80 – 89% water)

Bananas, avocado, baked potato (70 – 79%)

Pasta, salmon, chicken breast (60 – 69%)

Can I drink too much water?

Don’t force yourself to drink if you don’t feel thirsty. This could lead to hyponatremia a dangerous condition where excess water dilutes all the electrolytes in your blood.

Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP before trying any of the remedies we have discussed here.

We hope you’ve found this article useful in helping you answer the question, ‘How much water should I drink each day?’, as well as explaining the importance of drinking water.

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