We’ve all heard we’re supposed to drink eight glasses of water per day, but is that an absolute medical fact, and does it apply to everyone? Or is it simply a suggestion or something someone randomly made up, like 10,000 steps per day?
For some, staying hydrated can feel like quite the challenge. All that liquid in your system can make you feel bloated, and the number of bathroom breaks you have to take rises with each glass. But for those who have worked up to eight glasses per day or more, it’s like something’s definitely missing if they don’t get enough sips in.
The bottom line is that most experts agree that drinking water is one of the best and simplest things you can do to improve your health. But as for the amount of fluid you should intake on a daily basis? Here are 5 of your most pressing questions answered:
How do you calculate how much water should you really drink?
That all depends on your lifestyle, your health, and may even have a little something to do with your weight. Some healthcare professionals feel you should divide your body weight in half to come up with the right amount for you. So if you weigh, say, 140 lbs., then you may want to drink 70 ounces per day. Since there are 8 fluid ounces in a cup (or glass), that would be close to nine glasses. Oh, and if you’re exercising, live in a hot climate, pregnant, are nursing and/or sweating a lot, you should probably drink even more.
Do all liquids count?
Yes. The good news is most health experts agree that all fluids you drink count in your liquid intake total, and you can even count the fluids in the food you eat (like watermelon). The bad news is that many drinks have extra sugar, caffeine, sodium, alcohol, etc., and they may do more harm than good. Then there are those drinks that hydrate you for a while, then act as diuretics and dehydrate you. Fresh, clear water is almost always the best call.
What’s so great about drinking so much water anyway?
Beyond not being thirsty, staying hydrated delivers myriad benefits, including clearer, brighter skin, less fatigue, better sleep, a heightened immune system, less joint pain and more energy.
Is there such thing as drinking too much water?
Over-hydration doesn’t happen often, but it may occur if you drink more water than your body can use and eliminate. An excess of water can have a negative effect on the balance of electrolytes and nutrients in your body. Note that if you’re taking medication for diseases of the kidneys, liver, heart or thyroid, your doctor may instruct you to watch your water intake.
Can water help me lose weight?
Well yes, as a matter of fact, it can. Sometimes when you think you’re hungry, you’re actually thirsty, and drinking calorie free water can satisfy the urge to eat. You’ve heard the advice to drink a glass of water before every meal to curb your appetite? That really works. And of course, if you have water rather than wine or a sugary soft drink with your meal, that will cut down on your calorie intake. So water is definitely your diet friend.
Are eight glasses per day enough? Too much? Five facts that help reveal how much water should you really drink.