We are all familiar with certain facts about the water in the body!
Drinking water has become a very common theme lately. How much water should we drink? Do we need to drink it at all? What are the benefits … if any? This is my method for determining the amount of water you should drink.
First, let’s leave all that we hear from a variety of sources aside and look at the human body. We are all familiar with certain facts about the water in the body:
- Human body contains 70% water.
- Blood contains 75% water.
- The brain contains 75%-85% water.
- Water helps the digestion, saliva secretion, and this is the first stage of carbohydrate digestion.
- 500 ml water intake can boost your metabolism by 30%.
- Dehydration is defined as a loss of 1% of body weight due to fluid loss.
- Weight loss by 10% or more due to fluid loss can become life-threatening.
- When you are dehydrated, your attention and concentration may be reduced by 13%.
- Short-term memory may be reduced by7%.
These are only some of the facts about water in the body. We are also familiar with the fact that the water is extremely important for kidneys proper function as they filter the blood and are responsible for urinary wastes discharge. The kidneys also help to control the blood pressure.
In the blood, water is essential for maintaining the cell structure and oxygen transport through the bloodstream. Without adequate hydration, red blood cells lose their shape, like a deflated balloon, and therefore, cannot function properly.
Our bodies generate electricity. Electrolytes are transmitted through the body by blood and lymph, and consequently if more water is obtainable, they can move more easily through the body. The heart function depends on these electrolytes, if you don’t believe ask your cardiologist!
Your colon needs water to soak its fibers and to form waste products that are later removed from the body. If you disbelieve me, stop drinking water for several days, and then drink some and you’ll see what kind of changes will occur in the intestines. Water also helps in urine dilution. A good indicator of dehydration is dark colored urine or reduced amount of urine.
After considering these facts, the question remains why are there so many disagreements over the water amount that our body needs? Let me clarify what I’m explaining to my patients.
First, we need to follow our common sense. If we look up in physiology books, water is required for overall body functions. It is logical that if we lack water – such as lack of water in the radiator of your car – you will overheat. That means our body cannot function properly. Does this make some kind of sense?
Experts agree on one, that there is insufficient basis to support how the water should be consumed. In my office we can test your body composition and tell you how much water there is inside and outside your cells. Most people who drink a lot of coffee, juice, tea and other beverages rather than water, tend to have decreased intracellular fluids, because these beverages do not replace your daily water demand. Although they contain water, such drinks need to be digested, and therefore processed as food.
I recommend people to drink half their body weight in ounces of water each day *. This means that if you weigh 120 pounds **, you need 60 ounces of water each day (which is less than the recommended eight glasses of water). This amount varies depending on where you live, your physical activity, nutrition, stress level. However, this measure is a good starting point.
Personally I have tried to be on both sides of this dilemma: I drank juices all day with no water intake, instead of the recommended amount of water. The feeling is much different, so I was not convinced that this is the right thing for me.
So, you can listen to “experts” (like me) or you can use your brain and see what makes sense to you. I recommend you to still do the test – try to drink half your body weight in ounces for 2 weeks and evaluate how you FEEL.