How Much Water Does Your Body Need?
Healthy Living

How Much Water Does Your Body Need?

Elina Dawoodani profile Authored by Elina Dawoodani on 9 Sep 2014 - 15:05.

It won't be an overstatement to say - "Water is the elixir of life" since it's the critical nutrient essential for life sustenance. It forms the largest constituent of the human body. Did you know that an adult male human body weight constitutes 60-70 percent water and a woman’s body, 55 percent? This tells us how important water is to the body to keep it hydrated and for normal and healthy functioning. Hydration status is critical to the body's process of temperature control.

There are so many theories about the water quantities one should consume in a day, but factually how much water does one need every day? Ideally we know that eight glasses of water is the minimum one should consume, but really how much is right? To answer this question it is important to know that the need for water varies with individuals depending on various factors.

Studies indicate that under normal conditions our bodies excrete 500ml water/day through urine. Therefore, the total requirement of water is 3,000 ml for men and 2,200 ml for women. Besides this, there are other factors that influence the requirement too.

Find out where you fit in the below table, to assess your requirement:

Factor

Requirement

Body size and weight

The more you weigh, the more water required.

Physical activity

With increased physical activity, the body needs more water.

Metabolism

If your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate: The energy that your body requires for involuntary functions) is high, you need more water and if low, you need less.

Diet

If your diet is plant based (vegetables and fruits)you need less water.

Weather

The body demands more water in hot temperatures than in cold.

Temperature

If your body temperature is generally warm, your body needsmore water, around 100 ml water for every degree rise in temperature. In conditions like diarrhea, vomiting etc. the body needs excessive fluid replenishment.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Pregnant women or nursing mothers need more water to stay hydrated.

 

Water does much more than just quenching thirst, and here’s how:

As the major solvent in the body: The entire process of digestion requires water, starting from the first contact with saliva in the mouth to the intestines where it completes digestion, all along coming into contact with various fluids and enzymes - all water-based. Around 12 liters of intercellular fluid found in the spaces between the cells carry nutrients from the blood capillaries to the outer membranes of the body’s cells.

Participates in various reactions: Water molecules often break down to hydrogen atoms, oxygen atoms, hydroxyl group etc. and plays a key role in many indispensable reactions that take place in our bodies.

Acts as a lubricant: Fluids (water-based) serve as natural lubricants in various organs, predominantly within joints, where synovial fluid makes movement easier and reduces wear and tear of the cartilages and bones. The salivary fluid and mucus also acts as lubricant in the mouth and esophageal area.

Regulates temperature: Water plays a significant role in distribution of heat throughout the body. Heat generated by the metabolism is required to maintain body’s temperature at 98.6 degree Celsius. It balances the body temperature through perspiration from the surface of the skin.

Provides dietary minerals: Water contains significant amounts of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, sodium, copper, zinc and fluoride which make it available to the body.

As a cleaning agent: Water flushes toxins from the body through excretion in the form of urine and sweat. It aids in easy bowel movements without and avoid building of toxins in the intestines. Water also decreases the burden on liver and kidneys.

Helps bowel movement: “Water helps to move waste materials along, and is absorbed throughout the entire length of your colon. Insufficient water intake can cause stools to form far before waste materials reach your rectal pouch, which can cause constipation” explains Toronto based Acupuncturist, Dr. Ben Kim.

Helps hydration: Dehydration causes skin to develop dryness, tightness and flakiness and leads to wrinkled skin. To keep it healthy and glowing, sufficient water intake is a must.

Improves cognitive performance: A study published in the National Institute of Health says, that water, or the lack of it, has an influence on cognitive performance. It also says that “Mild dehydration produces alterations in a number of important aspects of cognitive function such as concentration, alertness and short-term memory in children, young adults and in the oldest adults”.

Tips for increasing your water intake:

  • Make it easy to access water. Fill two bottles in the morning and always keep them around you; Set reminders in your phone to drink water.
  • Consume fruits and vegetables that have high water content. Our food gives us more than 20 percent of water we require daily. Cucumbers, watermelon, tomatoes and similar foods have high water content.
  • Limit intake of caffeinated beverages since they curb your thirst. Substitute it with healthier options like lemon water, milk or natural fruit extract.
  • You can also opt for hot bowl of soups in winters. Simply boiling vegetables, grinding them, adding water and garnishing with some spices and herbs can be readily served.

References:

 

*Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. The content is for educational purposes only. Please contact your doctor for any health care issues.