We need hydration, but how many glasses of water?

OUR TOTAL body weight is composed of 60 to 65 percent water.  We need water in our system to control body temperature, transport nutrients, lubricate and cushion our joints, nourish our brain, keep our skin moisturized, keep our eyes, ears and nose moist, improve digestion and overall cellular functions. 

Electrolytes like potassium and sodium need water to be dissolved to trigger our nerves and muscle contractions.

We always hear that we need to consume at least eight glasses a day for our bodies to flush out toxins and function well.  A glass of water is more or less equal to eight ounces and consuming eight glasses a day totals to about two liters.  New clinical research says that because there are not enough facts to support it, eight glasses a day is not exactly the norm. 

Medical professionals recommend at least three liters for men and two liters for women but the amount is not all plain water as we also get water from the food and beverages we take.  Most of us get enough hydration unless we’re involved in strenuous activities for some time, extreme weather conditions or have excessive sweating and urination.  Losing just two to four percent of our body fluids reduces our endurance and muscular strength.

The earliest sign of dehydration is obviously thirst. Gradually, it involves elevated pulse rate and fatigue.   Later signs include weakness, dizziness and labored breathing. 

When rehydrating, do it in a cool place and drink slowly as drinking too fast stimulates urination resulting in lesser hydration.  Unless we are athletes working out for extended periods, water is as good as sports drinks.

Twenty percent of water is taken from our daily food intake.  Fruits and vegetables have high water contents like cucumber and iceberg lettuce (96%), watermelons and strawberries (92%), broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage (90%), carrots (87%), pineapples and oranges (85%), banana (70%) and apples (65%).    

Depending on the cut and kind, meat has more or less 70% water.  The leaner the meat, the higher the water content.  Poultry has about 10% lesser water content than red meat. 

It only takes 30 minutes to get dehydrated in hot weather and rehydration should be taken every 15 minutes during exercise. 

Of course, water replenishment is dependent on the intensity and duration of the activity.  Plain water is best for hydration as it contains no extra calories.  On average, adults lose 10 cups of water daily thru sweat and urine but can be replenished by the food and fluids we ingest.

Proper hydration is also dependent on age.  Children need more as they get easily dehydrated than adults because of their hyperactivity.  Older people also need more water because of health conditions.  Men are naturally built bigger and heavier than women so the need for water is more.  Pregnant women need more water than other women.

The best thing with water is that it helps us in weight loss because it fills us up and we tend to eat less.  Aside from water in fruits and vegetables, the fiber in them adds bulk but doesn’t contain any calories.  A high percentage of water and fiber in foods results in fewer calories per portion thus, we won’t be consuming many calories when we eat.

Water temporarily boosts metabolism and in one study, an eight-ounce glass of water can burn about 12 calories so if we drink at least eight glasses of water, 96 calories will be burned.  In another study, participants who had 16 ounces of water before meals lost an average of five pounds over the period of three months as compared to those who did not drink./PN


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