The human body is a complex piece of work and consists of around 60% water. The thing is, our bodies constantly lose water every day, courtesy, urine and sweat. So, to compensate for the lost fluid, there is a need to drink adequate amounts of water.
However, the amount of water needed for consumption, continues to be debated. As children, we care told that we need to drink eight glasses a day. In other words, around 2 liters of fluid enters the body.
On the other end of the spectrum, some believe that the body needs constant hydration throughout the day, even when the thirst is quenched. However, it all depends on the individual.
According to some studies, the body’s energy levels will deplete with the lack of hydration. In addition to that, brain function will also start to suffer significantly. For women, a fluid loss of 1.36% after exercise affects their mood and concentration and increased the frequency of headaches.
Also, mild dehydration (1–3% of body weight) caused by exercise or heat can harm many other aspects of brain function. On the outside, 1% may not seem like much, but to the body, it is a fairly significant amount.
Mild dehydration can also negatively affect physical performance, leading to reduced endurance.
Another claim is that increased water intake reduce body weight. To achieve this, it increases the body’s metabolism and reducing appetite.
Researchers even estimated that drinking 68 ounces in one day increased energy expenditure by about 96 calories per day.
It is also worth noting that there no harm in drinking cold water, as the body burns more calories to heat the water to reach body temperature.
Drinking water, half an hour before meals can also reduce the number of calories consumed, especially in older individuals.
Overall, it seems that drinking adequate amounts of water, particularly before meals, may have a significant weight loss benefit, especially when combined with a healthy diet.
Increasing fluid intake can also help with constipation, which a very common problem especially for older individuals.
Studies have even shown that increased fluid intake decreases the risk of bladder and colorectal cancer. Other preventions include decreasing the risk of developing kidney stones, an experience that can be severely painful.
It is also believed that an increased fluid intake can even help hydrate the skin and reduce acne.
Plain water is not the only drink that contributes to your fluid balance. Other drinks and foods can have a significant effect.
Most foods are also loaded with plenty of fluid. Meat, fish, eggs and especially fruits and vegetables all contain significant amounts of water.
When your total water content goes below a certain level, thirst kicks in. This is controlled by mechanisms similar to breathing, so no conscious effort is needed.
If you’re sweating a lot, make sure to replenish the lost fluid with water. Athletes doing very long, intense exercises may also need to replenish electrolytes along with water.
Your need for hydration also increases during breastfeeding, as well as several disease states like vomiting and diarrhea.
Furthermore, older people may need to consciously watch their water intake because the thirst mechanisms can start to malfunction in old age.