Are Eight Cups of Water a Day Really Enough?

We have heard over and over “You should drink more water”, but why? What it is that makes water this magical substance that everyone says is so important for our bodies.

Here are the facts. As women 55% of our bodies are comprised of water and every cell, tissue, and organ need water to function normally. It is a vial nutrient and used as building material by our cells.

Water disposes waste through urine, perspiration, and bowel movements. It regulates temperature, lubricates and cushions joints, aids in digestion, and some research indicates it may help with appetite suppression.

Without enough water, our bodies become dehydrated. In mild cases it causes fatigue, agitation, or decreased concentration. In more severe cases, it can lead to headaches, cramping, and dizziness that limits your ability to stand and walk.

About a month ago, I experienced severe dehydration and had to go to the hospital and get two liters of fluids. I woke up that morning unable to stand without feeling like I was going to pass out. Not fun.

Even understanding the importance of water, I fell into the trap of getting distracted and forgetting to drink. It’s easy to make excuses why it happened, but I relearned a valuable lesson. I have to be intentional with how much and how often I am drinking liquids.

Our bodies crave water and will send out a signal of thirst, which is one of the earliest signs of dehydration and at that point we could already be down 1-2% of our body water percentage.

The best way to tell if we are well hydrated is with our urine color. I know it is a little weird but checking the color of your urine through out the day will give you the best feedback about your body. Your urine should be clear, or pale yellow. If it is dark yellow and cloudy, my friend you are dehydrated and need to up that water drinking!

So how much water is enough? That’s where it can get interesting. Most resources suggest you 8 cups of water a day. It appears that there is little research on that specific number. It seems that women should really be closer to 2.7 liters or 11.5 cups of water a day.

I know that sounds like a lot, but we can break it down a bit. Approximately 20% of our water intake comes from the food we eat. Soups, yogurt, watermelon, oranges, and spinach are all 90-100% water by weight and really good for hydration. You can also include other beverages in your count.

Let’s also do away with the myth that coffee dehydrates you. It does have a diuretic tendency (makes you pee), but that is minimal compared with the amount of liquid you retain. Also, soda count too, but you must consider the sugar it contains. So, it’s best to leave those to a minimum.

Sports drinks are most beneficial during moderate to vigorous physical activity and high intensity exercise in the heat to replenish water and electrolytes. Otherwise, they should be consumed cautiously, because of their high sugar content.

Now that we have an idea of why we need water and how much we should be drinking, let’s talk about how to drink more with our busy lives. This is a safe space, and we can also be honest that some of you don’t like its flavor or lack of flavor. So here are some of my favorite tips and tricks.

  • Add fruit to your water to infuse flavor. Lemon and Lime add a great fresh citrus flavor.
  • Drink a glass of water before, during, and after a meal. Remember some research shows water to be an appetite suppressant.
  • Set an alarm on your phone or other smart device to remind you to take a drink every 15-30 minutes
  • Drink at the top of every hour.
  • Get a super fun cup that you like showing off.
  • Leave a glass of water sitting in an area of your house you frequent like the kitchen or living room. Take a drink every time you walk through.
  • Thirst is easily confused with hunger, so try drinking a glass of water instead of grabbing a snack and see if your hunger subsides.
  • Finally, my favorite tip. . . take water with you EVERYWHERE.

A healthy lifestyle is about establishing and maintaining healthy habits and rhythms. Yes, some of these tricks may feel weird to start, but once you train your mind and body, you will find you start drinking water automatically without even having to think.

When you look at all the things you may want to improve about yourself it can be overwhelming. By starting simple and taking on one health habit at a time you are much more likely to make them stick.

Drinking more water is one of the cheapest, simplest health habits you can start, and is so beneficial for your body. Also, you will notice positive changes in concentration and energy in just days of consistent drinking. So, find a cup of water and lets cheers to starting new health habits in 2021.

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