Tuesday , August 22 2017

Benefits of Drinking water and how to stay Hydrated?

What research says about the Benefits of Drinking water and how to stay Hydrated?

Are you familiar with any or the following comments and questions:
Have you wondered how to get your 8 glasses of water per day? 
Do you find drinking plain water boring or do you hate drinking water?

 

You might be surprised but you are not along. There are a lot of people asking these very questions.

Let us see some research based facts regarding the Benefits of Drinking water, and we will also see how you can get adequate water in your system, on a daily basis.

 

Firstly, I might ask, why is it that we need 8 glasses of water per day?

According to the American Journal of Physiology, there is no scientific basis to this requirement for 8 glasses of water per day. So the fact of the matter remains that this 8 glass per day rule does not really hold water (pun intended 😀 ).

 

So that would bring us to our next question; how much water do we actually need?

Research suggests we should drink water when we become thirsty. When water is available unrestricted, the human thirst mechanism is sufficient of an indicator to send us a signal. In other words we will not get dehydrated if we rely on our thirst mechanism. This however might not work for everyone especially athletes, pregnancy women, and older adults. (1, 2)

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Next, let’s discuss the benefits of water. What is it’s actual importance? Why do we need it?

 

Firstly, upto 70% of our bodies are made up of water. We need it to survive and function properly. Dehydration of even 2% of body weight can cause impaired physiological and performance responses. So essentially a big part of us, is water. (3)

 

Our blood is made up of appx 85 % water, muscles constitutes about 80 % water, brain about 75 % and bones 25%.

 

It was found by studying 819 patients in a metabolic stone clinic, that chronic dehydration is a common cause of stones in the Kidney, Bladder or urinary tract. This could be treated by increasing water consumption. (4)

 

In another study, involving 47,909 participants and 10 years, it was found that, a high fluid intake is associated with decreased bladder cancer. (5)

 

Drinking water helps us lose weight, by increasing our metabolic rate. It has been found out that, by drinking 500ml of water, our metabolic rate can be increased by 30 %. This increase starts from about 10 min after drinking water and lasts for about 30-40 minutes. (6)

You might want to see a related article “Are you wondering how to lose weight”.

 

But this being said, is there any indication to know if we are de-hydrated?

According to the National Health Service (NHS), UK, early symptoms of dehydration are thirst and dark-coloured urine.

While further symptoms could be:

  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Feeling tired
  • Eyes, lips and mouth feeling dry
  • Urinating less and not frequently.

In fact, some companies and organizations have charts in the restrooms displaying urine colour and hydration or dehydration levels, for the benefit of their employees (see a typical chart below).

After drinking enough water and you still see the symptoms, it might be time to see a doctor.

urine-colour-table

 

But as we all are human, we might find drinking enough water hard, even though it is an inbuilt mechanism.

So, let’s see how we can get enough water:

1) Carry a water bottle around, and drink when you are thirsty. I usually prefer to carry an aluminum or steel bottle. Even though it is more bulky we can be free from BPA plastic and the sort. Depending on the place where you live, tap water might be potable or you would need to use some purification method. (7)

 

 

2) If you find drinking plain water boring, try infused water:
Making infused water is easy and usually means immersing fruits, vegetables and herbs in cold water. If you are interested you can download the free e-book in our Resource Library about the basics of Infused water, where we show you how to make your own infused water. It is dead simple.

Infused water Button

 

 

3) Eat your water requirements:
A lot of fruits and vegetables are high in water content, as can be seen from the table below. Thus, eating a lot of fruits and vegetables high in water, will count towards fulfilling your total water requirement.

As per The USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Referencewater content of various food items are as follows:

Water content Item
100% Water
90–99% Strawberries, lettuce, cabbage, celery, watermelon, spinach, cantaloupe
80–89% Fruit juice, apples, grapes, carrots, broccoli (cooked), pears, pineapple, yogurt, oranges,
70–79% Avocados, cottage cheese, baked potato, corn (cooked), shrimp, bananas.
60–69% Pasta, salmon, ice cream, chicken, legumes,
50–59% Ground beef, feta cheese, tenderloin steak.
40–49% Pizza
30–39% Cheddar cheese, bread
20–29% Pepperoni sausage, biscuits, cake
10–19% Butter, raisins, margarine.
1–9% Walnuts, peanuts, crackers, cereals, peanut butter
0% Sugars, oils.

 

 

4) Drink milk, to substitute as a water supplement. Cow’s milk has about 87 % water content. Besides the water content milk also provides us with protein, the building blocks of life.(8)

Related article : 3 Steps to getting enough Protein, for maintaining your health.

5) Avoid too much caffeine as it is a diuretic (causes increased production of urine).

6) Sip on coconut water – Studies have shown that coconut water is as effective as a sports drink in promoting rehydration. (9)

benefits-of-drinking-coconut-water

 

 

However, with all the talk about how good water is, you must be assuming that drinking more water must be a good thing?

The fact of the matter is that drinking too much water too is not good. This can lead to water intoxication, a condition called “hyponatremia”, where the sodium level in the blood gets too low. This can cause headaches, vomiting and lethargy. In severe cases it can cause seizures and coma. (10, 11)

According to Wikipedia It occurs in about 20% of those admitted to hospital and 10% of people during or after an endurance sporting event. So I would say stick to your thirst mechanism telling you the way forward. (12)

 

Conclusion:

Water forms a big part of our body’s make-up.

We should rely on our thirst mechanism to tell us when to drink water.
Too little or too much water, is not good.

 

If you liked this article, please share. Buttons are at the bottom. 

Wish to add or dispute something, leave a comment.

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About Kneller

Kneller Fernandes is the founder of “Stay Fit n Young .com”. He is a NESTA certified "Lifestyle and Weight Management Specialist". He lives in Mumbai with his wife and two kids. Know more about him here.

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