You know water is essential for good health, but do you know why? What happens when you’re dehydrated? And how do you know the ideal amount of water to drink? Here’s everything you need to know about the importance of staying hydrated.
What are the Effects of Dehydration?
If you allow yourself to become dehydrated, you put yourself at risk for the following health problems:
- Kidney stones
- Decreased athletic performance
- Low response times
- Confusion and mood changes
Are You Getting Enough Water?
Everyone has heard they should drink eight cups of water a day, but this advice isn’t quite right. The exact amount your body needs depends on your age, gender, environment, activity level, and underlying health issues.
According to the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, healthy adult men living in a moderate climate need about 16 cups of fluids per day. Women should consume about 12 cups of fluids per day. Athletes need even more than this because of the sweating and heavy breathing that comes with exercise.
“Fluids” refers to any food or drink that contains water. Milk and juice, for example, are composed primarily of water, as are most fruits and vegetables, including watermelon, spinach, grapefruit, broccoli, and blueberries. On average, the food you eat contributes to 20 percent of your total water intake.
To prevent the problems associated with dehydration, aim to drink enough water that you rarely feel thirsty and produce light-colored urine throughout the day. These are signs that you have a healthy fluid intake.
Why is Drinking Enough Water So Important?
Water comprises about 60 percent of your weight and is the key to every biological function. Your body needs enough water to do the following:
- Flush toxins from your organs
- Carry nutrients to your cells
- Maintain a healthy, stable core temperature
- Keep your pH level balanced
- Cushion your joints and protect the spinal cord
- Provide a moist environment for tissues in your throat, nose, and ears
- Keep your energy levels high
Water should be your beverage of choice when trying to boost your fluid intake. It’s calorie-free, inexpensive, and readily available. Drink water at meals instead of sugary soda or juice to contribute to your weight loss goals. Then, keep a water bottle with you and sip from it throughout the day. If you get tired of plain water, opt for unsweetened tea or sparkling water for a little more flavor.
If you or a family member is experiencing a non-life-threatening health problem, whether from dehydration or another cause, visit Total Point Urgent Care for the medical treatment you need. Our walk-in clinic provides care to all, no appointments or referrals necessary. We treat everything from bug bites and asthma attacks to sprains and strains to strep throat and pink eye. For immediate, cost-effective care, please visit one of our nine locations in Texas today.