How much water should you drink a day? Find out in this article.
From health gurus to fashion magazines, TV commercials to your doctor, someone is telling you to drink more water practically everywhere you turn. Whether you already feel you drink enough water or you know you need to cut back on carbonated beverages, you probably hear a wide variety of opinions when it comes to how much water you should drink.
Before you start upping the ounces, you need to know the answer to “How much water should you drink a day?” This guide also will tell you which kinds of water are best, why you need to drink it, and even what happens if you drink too much of it.
Different Types of Water
Tap water is the water you get when you turn on your faucets at home. In most places, the water comes from a city source, although some rural homes still use wells. Although tap water is okay for everyday things like showering, it might not be a good idea to drink it.
Many water supplies include chlorine, fluoride, and volatile organic compounds. These additions to the water may cause dental problems or even lead to more serious health issues in some people.
It is also possible for the water supply to become contaminated by other unexpected problems, which is why you’ll sometimes see alerts telling you to boil your tap water before using it for drinking or cooking.
In 2016 alone, 12.8 billion gallons of bottled water were sold in the United States. Bottled water is a convenient way to get the hydration you need while you’re on the go but it also can be detrimental to the environment and your health.
If you do consume bottled water, try to purchase water in glass bottles, which prevents chemicals from leeching into the plastic and into your body. Glass is also easier to reuse. Whether you drink water from glass or plastic bottles, recycling the bottles is important.
Reverse Osmosis Water
Reverse osmosis is a water treatment procedure that removes contaminants. It was once thought to be the best method for creating clean, healthy drinking water. Unfortunately, as more research was conducted, experts realized the treatment method also removed all the good minerals from water.
Some even believe the water treated by reverse osmosis could dehydrate your intestinal, and some people have reported constipation after drinking reverse osmosis water.
If you do choose to drink reverse osmosis water, you can re-add minerals by adding a pinch of sea salt to the water.
Alkaline Water System
Alkaline water systems are becoming increasingly popular and have plenty of benefits, but it is important to keep in mind that they also have an unusually high pH level. In the long term, water with a pH level that exceeds 10, such as an alkaline system, can cause the drinker to have weaker stomach acid.
This is problematic because a person’s stomach acid is a primary defense against pathogens. If you decide to seek out an alkaline system, search for one with a pH that routinely stays at nine or lower.
Distilling water removes harmful contaminants, but like reverse osmosis, it also removes helpful minerals.
Still, you can add a pinch of sea salt to replenish minerals, and if you are someone who eats a wide variety of fruits and vegetables on a regular basis, distilled water won’t cause a lack of nutrients in your body.
Filtered water refers to any tap water that goes through a filtration system, such as a pitcher or an attachment that you add to your faucet. This is an excellent choice for most people but remember that not all filtration systems are equal.
Be sure to research which ones do the best job before purchasing one. After you begin using the system, change the filter according to the manufacturer’s instructions to prevent buildup and contamination.
When collected from a legitimate source, spring water is considered the purest, most hydrating form of water to drink. Natural spring water has a pH of about eight, which is best for the human body.
It also tastes better than most tap or bottled water. However, drinking from a natural spring requires finding an approved one to ensure there is no contamination.
Benefits of Drinking Water: How Much Water Should You Drink A Day?
The biggest benefit of drinking water is that it keeps your body working properly. Your body is 60 percent water and keeping it hydrated ensures it maintains a good temperature, digests food, and absorbs nutrients properly. There are other benefits as well.
Lose Or Maintain Weight
No matter which weight loss plan you follow, it’s likely to tell you to drink plenty of water. Water helps you to more efficiently process your food, holding on to nutrients while flushing out the things your body doesn’t need. It also helps with appetite, making you feel fuller so that you don’t overeat as much.
In fact, many experts agree that feelings of thirst are often mistaken for hunger. If you feel hungry, drink some water and wait 30 minutes. You may no longer feel hungry. Water even helps you feel more energized so that you exercise more efficiently.
Improves Kidney Functions
Have you ever heard of kidney stones? They occur when someone becomes too dehydrated, often as the result of drinking too much soda.
Drinking plenty of water keeps your kidneys working efficiently. Water allows your kidneys to remove sodium and toxins from your body, and also aids in reducing inflammation
Aids In Digestion
Even if you eat enough dietary fiber, not drinking enough water can make it harder for you to digest your food, which can lead to constipation.
Drinking water ensures you have regular bowel movements so that your body is healthy and that you do not feel uncomfortable.
Provides Mental Clarity
Drinking enough water each day ensures you don’t have dehydration-related headaches that make it hard to concentrate and function. A London-based study showed that drinking water while taking an exam helped students to score higher on the test.
Creates A Stronger Immune System
Keeping your body hydrated keeps your immune system healthy. Water flushes out toxins, increases lymph production, keeps the eyes and mouth clean, lubricates the joints, and even increases the production of serotonin, which fights the symptoms of depression.
Creates A Healthier Appearance
Finally, water improves collagen production in your skin, which creates better elasticity, making your face appear fuller and more youthful.
People who drink enough water each day often take longer to display signs of aging such as fine lines or dark spots on the skin.
Calculating How Much Water To Drink Each Day
The amount of water you need depends on several factors, but experts agree that 64 ounces (one-half gallon) is a good baseline. However, there are some cases in which you should drink more than the base amount of water.
If you live in an area that has more heat or humidity than average, your body will lose water from sweating, so you should drink more water than average. Similarly, you’ll also need more water when you are more active, such as on days you exercise or play a lot of sports.
Finally, people who are sick can become dehydrated, so extra water is very important if you have the flu or a cold.
Some people think that you should drink half your weight in ounces but that can be problematic for some. For example, someone who is 400 pounds and trying to lose weight would need to drink 200 ounces a day according to that belief. However, that is 25 glasses of water, which is practically impossible, especially if you don’t have easy access to a bathroom throughout the day. After all, water makes you need to urinate more often.
Dangers Of Drinking Too Much Water: How Much Water Should You Drink A Day?
There is such a thing as drinking too much water. In one infamous case in 2007, a woman was trying to win a Wii from a radio station in a “Hold Your Wee for a Wii” contest. She drank so much water that she passed away at home a few hours later.
Water intoxication, known as hyponatremia, can be very serious. While it is extremely rare, it is still important to know the cause and the symptoms. The cause comes down to sodium. Drinking too much water depletes your body’s sodium levels too quickly, causing an imbalance and making your cells swell, which includes the cells in the brain.
Symptoms of hyponatremia often look like the symptoms of heatstroke or exhaustion. The woman from the radio contest cried and complained of a severe headache the last time someone heard from her, which is the most common symptom.
Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or an overall feeling of being ill. If you feel you or someone you know may have had too much water, head to an emergency room as soon as possible.
Of course, not drinking enough water is much more common than drinking too much. If, like millions of other people, you find yourself struggling to stay hydrated, try a few tips and tricks to make it easier.
For one thing, you don’t need to slack on the flavor. Some bottled water companies sell fruit-flavored waters, or you can create your own by purchasing a water infuser and adding your favorite fresh fruit to it.
You can also turn it into a fun challenge, and compete with friends or family members to see who hits their hydration goals each day. You might even find that using a water-tracking app on your phone keeps you motivated.
By drinking enough water every day, you’ll feel more hydrated and healthier in no time.
How much water should you drink a day? Now you know.