How much water should I drink?
As a Naturopath I am often told, ‘I don’t like water’ or ‘I’ll be visiting the loo all day’ and ‘I forget to drink water’. Optimal water intake varies from person to person, depending on activity level, diet, environmental exposure, and lifestyle but guidelines suggest anywhere between 6 – 8 large glasses for women and 8 – 10 large glasses for men.
Receptors in our mouth and stomach tell us when we need to replace lost water, how often do we ignore these messages and grab something to eat instead?
What type of water?
As clean and fresh as possible, which is difficult unless you have your own well, free from pesticides and other problems, so, filtered at the very least … this is a huge subject so more on this another day. If you really don’t like the taste, add a slither of cucumber or slice of lemon or orange, or even a sprig of mint. Always carry a bottle of water with you so you are conscious of your water intake and sip little and often through out the day.
Water is vital for life and often overlooked as an essential nutrient.
Water regulates our body temperature, lubricates joints and internal organs, transports nutrients, preserves cardiovascular function and provides structure to our tissues and cells. Our body weight is made up of approximately 45 – 75% water and it is thought that we can lose up to 2 ½ litres of water a day through our kidneys, skin, colon and lungs…. Daily water intake must be balanced with losses…. There is no reserve tank!
Good reasons to drink water
- Water is required to metabolise our food.
- Dehydration may increase the risk of developing infections, dental cavities, kidney stones and bladder infections.
- Drinkingwater with a meal neutralises stomach acid which needs to be pH 2.5 for active enzymes to break down a protein meal, so I suggest we drink water ½ hour before a meal.
- The main organ of digestion is our pancreas, which secretes digestive juices. This vital organ also produces the hormone insulin, which is released into the blood to regulate the body’s glucose or sugar level. All these enzymes are made of water!
- In the colon, water is taken out so stools are formed, if we are dehydrated, too much water is taken out and we get rabbit pellets and constipation.
- In the lungs, alveoli are tiny sacs that allow us to breathe, in each little alveoli is a little droplet of water. If we are dehydration bronchioles in our lungs, shrivel to conserve water.
- Excess caffeine and sugar can be dehydrating.
- Water helps us regulate the acid/alkaline balance in our body.
- Water is a medium for transport for supplying nutrients and removing waste.
- Even mild dehydration can impair brain function causing poor memory, concentration and sleepiness.
How do I know if I am dehydrated?
- Increased blood pressure
- Dry skin, lips, tongue
- Muscle cramps
Dehydration symptoms in the brain
- Depression and negative thought patterns
- Brain cells shrink and can cause headaches
- Lack of concentration and alertness
- Short term memory loss