I don’t know about you, but I have to consciously make myself drink water. If left to my own devices without sticky notes and phone pings reminding me, I would probably go far too long without drinking plain ol’ water. Nothing against water, it is just really boring. What I didn’t know is that if your body doesn’t get enough water, it can cause weird things to happen that you wouldn’t even think of. So, how much water should you drink, and when do you know you need to drink more? Read on to find out.
Our bodies are pretty much all water, 60% in fact. Water helps with a lot of your daily bodily functions. It helps us remove waste, move nutrients around and regulate our body temperature. When we lose water through sweating and urinating, we need to make sure we replenish.
How Much Water Should You Drink a Day?
So, how much water should you drink? This answer is not as black and white as it would seem. Everyone has different physical demands, lives in different climates and eats differing amounts of foods (a lot of foods contain water), affecting how much you need. Without everything being equal, men should aim for about 10 cups and women around 7 (pregnant and breastfeeding women should increase that to 8-10 cups).
To know if you are really getting enough, the easiest thing to do is check your urine color. You urine will be a pale yellow, almost clear if you are getting enough, and you will generally have to use the bathroom several times a day. Certain vitamins and medications can change your urine color, but overall, color is a good indicator.
Signs You Need To Drink More Water
It goes without saying that if you are more physically active, live in a warm climate, or are breast feeding or pregnant, you will likely need more water to offset. But, if you have any of the reasons below ring true with you, you may also need to drink more water. Sometimes people don’t even realize that they are dehydrated and what may be causing their issues, when a simple glass or two of water may help a lot. (As always, get anything strange checked out with a medical professional).
If You Have Bad Breath and/or a Dry Mouth
We all know that garlic and onions can cause bad breath, but what you may not have thought of is that a lack of saliva in the mouth can also cause bad breath. The more dehydrated you are, the drier your mouth is, the less saliva you have to keep bad breath a bay. Try keeping your water intake consistent throughout the day.
Feeling a little foggy? Can’t think the straightest? Dehydration might be the cause. We need water to keep our brains functioning well. (See my post Brain Health: 5 Foods to Avoid to Keep Your Healthy Brain in Tact for more information on brain health.) Even a slight decline in bodily fluid can cause mental function to wane. As like above, keep water with you all day and try to consistently take drinks.
People who live at higher elevations tend to lose more fluid throughout the day since air pressure is reduced and respiration is different. The higher up you go, the more water you will need.
If you’re dehydrated, it can make a fever worse. If you are feeling sick with a fever, consider upping your fluid intake.
This one might go without saying for some of us, but if you’ve had one too many the night before, part of your headache and dry mouth is caused by the dehydration effects of alcohol. Try drinking water in between drinks for a better recovery the next morning.
We all know we should be drinking more water for overall good health, but sometimes it is easier said than done. If you have any of these weird signs or just don’t know how much water you should drink, try starting with the general guidelines above and increasing or decreasing from there. You can keep a water bottle with you (consider a stainless steel or glass version – read my post Three Easy Ways to Avoid BPA and BPS for more information), or even add a splash or two of fruit juice or a slice of lemon or lime to flavor it up a bit.
Good luck, and stay hydrated out there!
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