In order to function properly, the human body needs water. Women need approximately 11.5 cups of fluids per day, whereas men need about 15.5 cups. The water can come from many sources, including popular beverages, such as coffee and soda, and watery fruits and vegetables, like cucumbers and watermelon. But we definitely need it, and when we’re drinking optimum amounts, we reap benefits.
While it is possible to get enough water from other sources, nothing is quite as wholesome, beneficial and pure as a glass of water. When you get the majority of your fluids from water, you can enjoy several amazing health benefits.
Drinking water may provide us with such things as boosted brain function, weight loss, fewer headaches and increased physical performance. But of course, it’s also possible to drink too much water, too fast — something which can be dangerous. Here’s how much to go for, and some of the benefits you can hope for.
Boosted Brain Function
Every organ in our bodies — every muscle, fiber and cell — needs water to function, including our brains. When we don’t drink enough water, we can become dehydrated, which can impair short-term memory or our ability to perform mental tasks. When we’re adequately hydrated, however, our brains can better perform, even approaching that optimal level where we breeze through complex tasks.
For those looking to lose weight, water may help. Water affects weight loss efforts in various ways:
- Water suppresses appetite
- It reduces caloric intake (if we choose it over sugary drinks)
- Water helps us to burn more calories
What’s more, water is vital for those bodily functions that are responsible for both zapping fat and removing it from the body.
Dehydration is a major cause of frequent headaches. When we’re dehydrated, our brain temporarily retracts, resulting in pain. The pain can range from a dull, persistent ache to intense pain, like that associated with a migraine.
Increased Physical Performance
As mentioned, water is necessary for every function the body performs. When it comes to intense physical activity or sports, water helps maintain blood volume and regulates body temperature. It is even used in muscle contraction. Since activity causes us to lose hydration through sweat, we must stay hydrated for optimal performance.
How Much Water is Enough?
So, how much water should we drink? It depends. In the past, the rule of thumb was to drink eight glasses of water per day. However, the consensus has changed now that medical experts are measuring total fluid intake rather than water intake alone and have moved away from generalized rules and toward individualized guidance instead. LiveScience recommends letting your body and thirst be the guide. If you feel thirsty, drink. Also, pay attention to the color of your urine. It should be pale yellow. If it is dark or medium yellow, you’re probably not drinking enough.
Strangely enough, it is possible to drink too much water. Your kidneys can only process so much fluid per day. If you drink too much, your blood may become diluted and your cells flooded. In order to avoid water intoxication, you should never drink more than 27 to 33 ounces of water per hour. Remember, to reduce this number if you’re consuming fluids from other sources.
Most people shouldn’t be afraid of drinking too much and should focus on getting enough. The key is to strike a balance. Drink enough water to stay hydrated and get those positive health benefits, and it may well be more than you think you need — but avoid drinking more than your body can handle.