Drinking enough water every day is good for your overall health. This is stated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States and a wide range of experts.
Hydration is one of the most basic, simple and economical parts of a healthy lifestyle. And while water is the predominant source and perhaps the most effective of the fluids your body needs, there are others as well.
If you’ve ever tried to increase water consumption, you know that you need to make a conscious effort to make it a habit, even with bottled water seemingly everywhere at your fingertips. However, hydration offers a great return on investment so many would consider a lighter increase in the spectrum of healthy behaviors.
It is crucial for many reasons
According to Harvard University’s TH Chan School of Public Health, drinking enough water every day is crucial for many reasons, such as regulating body temperature, keeping joints lubricated, preventing infections, delivering nutrients to cells. and maintain the proper functioning of the organs. The school also lists improved sleep quality, cognition, and mood as other benefits.
Experts also do studies that suggest long-term benefits of drinking water, based on a wide variety of factors. These benefits may include reducing the risk of colorectal cancer and urinary tract cancer, heart disease, urinary tract infections, kidney stones, constipation, high blood pressure, and stroke. Drinking water can also help you lose weight.
Dehydration is key in any discussion about water. According to the Mayo Clinic, lack of water can lead to dehydration, a condition that occurs when there is not enough water in the body to perform normal functions. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you feel tired.
How much water do we need?
The CDC defines daily fluid intake (total water) as the amount of water consumed from food, regular drinking water, and other beverages. The CDC notes that daily fluid intake recommendations vary by age, sex, pregnancy, and breastfeeding status, and that there is no average requirement for how much normal water they should drink. daily adults and young people.
That said, the CDC, along with many other scientific organizations, refer to a recommendation by the National Academy of Medicine for the total intake of water from all foods and liquids at 125 ounces (approximately 15 cups) for men. and 91 ounces (approximately 11 cups) for women. The CDC reports that normal water contributes 30% of total water intake in men, and 70% comes from other foods and dietary fluids. Plain water intake in women is 34%.
Another Harvard report says your body would be perfectly satisfied if you drank nothing but water. But it also suggests that while at least half of the daily liquid comes from water, about a third may come from sugar-free tea or coffee. The ideal water is to come from drinks sweetened with sugar or fructose-rich corn syrup.
Do we drink enough water?
When it comes to meeting our daily water consumption needs, women reach the mark and men are very close.
Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that among U.S. adults, women consumed 93 ounces of water a day, just ahead of the National Academy of Medicine’s 91-ounce recommendation. , and men consumed an average of 117 ounces, just below the recommended 125.
In addition, the survey found that men aged 60 and over were the worst at complying with the recommendations, as they consumed less water than men aged 20-59. The same applied to women aged 60 and over, who consumed less water than women aged 20-59.
Tips for staying hydrated
There are many ways to incorporate hydration into your lifestyle and develop routines. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center offers tips that include drinking a glass of water early in the morning, another one hour before bedtime, and a full-size drink at each meal. UPMC also cites pineapples, watermelon and blueberries as fruits with a high water content.
For my more than 50 male (and female) readers, the National Institute on Aging reminds us that with age you could lose some of the feeling of thirst. To get enough fluids without adding calories, they suggest you don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink water, take a full glass of water before exercising, and drink a full glass of water when you take a pill.
The water is better
The American Heart Association offers a couple of handy tips: When you’re well hydrated, your heart doesn’t have to work that hard. In addition, electrolyte sports drinks can be useful for people who do intense, high-intensity exercise when it is very hot, but are usually high in sugars and calories. The same goes for fruit juices and soft drinks. All this leads them to conclude that water is the best.
Hydration: a cultural phenomenon
As early as 2002, Heinz Valtin of Dartmouth Medical School, who wrote in the Journal of Physiology, did not accept the idea that we should all drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. He was joined by several prominent people who found no scientific evidence to support the notion.
There are several theories about the origin of the so-called 8×8 rule, but the actual source is unknown. However, Heinz credits the emergence of this theory as one of the factors that may have launched our national concern for water.
Nearly 20 years ago, Heinz took note of the cultural emergence of Americans carrying water bottles and containers and the acceptance of people to drink water anywhere. Today, water for you or your loved one has become a social norm, as has the emergence of numerous manufacturers of bottled water, flavored water products, and sports drinks. Along with tap water, these products offer a huge opportunity to meet one of our most basic health needs.
Regardless of how you achieve your daily fluid goal and whether you are drinking fresh or healthy, it is important to be aware of the benefits and work to incorporate hydration into your daily routines. Drink!
Louis Bezich, senior vice president of strategic alliances at Cooper University Health Care, is the author of “Crack The Code: 10 Proven Secrets That Motivate Healthy Behavior and Inspire Compliance in Men Over 50.” Read more about Louis on his website.