When it comes to staying healthy and maintaining weight, we are constantly told that one of the essential things to do is drink enough water. Water in the system helps keep kidneys and bowels functioning properly, and also plays a part in flushing toxins from the body.
Great! Making all that happen just by drinking water is pretty easy, right? Well, how much is enough?
There are a variety of opinions out in the medical, nutritional and exercise communities, including some who think we should be sipping a bottle of water all day long, but the general rule of thumb is begin at drinking eight eight ounce glasses a day.
Using a standard English measure, that’s eight cups of water or, if you are fluent in the metric system, about a liter.
But, that’s just where we should all start with our water consumption. Every day, all humans lose water, the most abundant molecule in the body, through sweat and urination. Obviously, that water has to be replaced. Too much water drinking all at once is not ideal as it will interfere with brain function, but over the course of a day, drinking when thirsty (or creating a schedule for the OCD among us) should do the trick.
There are times when more water drinking than just the bare minimum is necessary. Women who are breastfeeding, people who have exercised and are sweating, after a professional massage, while ill with stomach and intestinal bugs are all times that water consumption needs to increase. People who are injured and those who have colds are also advised to increase water consumption.
So, is it just water that counts, or can other beverages be counted in overall consumption as well?
There are conflicting schools of thought on the answer to that question as alcohol and caffeine are both diuretics, so to be on the safe side, it’s worth just sticking to the 8×8 rule of thumb.
Also, caregivers of older adults should watch out that their charges are getting enough to drink. Like so many other things related to aging and the human body, the thirst mechanism reliability lessens with age.