Did you know that most people can survive no more than 7 days without water?
Because of its many functions in the body, water is often regarded as the most important nutrient. Although there is numerous proof of its benefits, experts still find it difficult to advise people how much they need to daily for optimal health.
Water is involved in the transport of oxygen, essential nutrients and waste products in and out of cells. Drinking water contains calcium, flouride, magnesium and potassium, important electrolytes. It is necessary for digestion and lubricates mucous membranes in our gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts. Your body uses water as a coolant, helping to regulate body temperature during exercise, when fever is present and in hot environments. Water also serves to cushion joints.
How Much Water Do You Need?
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) published its Dietary Reference Intake for water in February 2004. The committee explains that drinking fluids represents about 81% of total water intake, with 19% of water being provided by foods. So, the recommendation for actual fluid intake is 3.0 liters for men and 2.2 liters for women. Since 1 liter = 33.8 fluid ounces, men are advised to drink 101.4 fluid ounces, or 13 cups (a cup is 8 fluid ounces) of drinking water and other beverages per day, and women are advised to drink 74.4 fluid ounces, or 9 cups, per day.
Easy ways to get the recommended water intake:
- Drink a glass of water upon waking up, and another after your breakfast;
- Drink a glass of water with every cup of tea or coffee you drink during the day;
- Drink a glass of water before and after lunch and dinner;
- Drink a glass of water with each alcoholic drink you consume;
- Drink a glass of water at bedtime.
Pretty simple to get those 8 or 9 glasses of water in each day. Remember, when you are exercising in heat or humidity, bring water with you, and most importantly, DRINK IT!