How much should I drink daily?
For optimum health, the question “how much should I drink daily?” is really important. Every cell and organ in our body requires water to function and water makes up a massive 60-70% of our body.
How much should I drink daily? – Dehydration
Dehydration, is where the body doesn’t get enough water. Mild dehydration leads to the feeling of thirst, headaches, dizziness, tiredness and if on-going can affect your kidneys. Severe dehydration is a medical emergency and can lead to low blood pressure, organ failure and eventually death. Contact your GP (or NHS direct) if you’re concerned you or a family member may be dehydrated. This is particularly important in the very young and old, who can quickly become dehydrated. Diarrhoea and vomiting can also lead to dehydration, so again, seek medical attention if you’re concerned.
How much should I drink daily? – Overhydration
Overhydration can also cause medical problems. Drinking too much can result in hyponatraemia (low blood Sodium). The media recently reported a severe case of ‘water toxicity’, as shown in the ‘You Tube’ clip below. The tragic story involved a young mother of 3 children, who took part in a radio contest. Part of the contest involved drinking 9 Litres of water in one sitting. She sadly died from hyponatraemia as a result.
These are some extreme examples! However, drinking the right amount of fluid will help you to achieve optimal health.
How much should I drink daily?
The amount you should drink daily depends on a number of different factors; age, gender, how much exercise you do, how warm it is. You should aim to drink 8-10 cups of fluid, spread out over the day (about 2 litres /day). If you’re well hydrated, your urine should be pale straw colour and clear. Dark yellow and strong smelling, suggests you’re not drinking enough. But listen to your body. If you’re thirsty – drink!
Should I only drink water?
Water is great! No calories, cheap and should make up a large part of your fluid intake. I’m a firm believer in enjoying your food (and drink) so keep it varied. Vital nutrients can be gained through other drinks such as milk, fruit juices, smoothies and of course the good ol’ British cup of tea.
Try to limit soft and fizzy drinks, as these are high in sugar. Encourage children especially, to drink only milk and water – to protect their pearly whites! For adults choose non-alcoholic and non-caffeinated drinks where possible. If you are drinking alcohol, try to have a non-alcoholic drink in between. A sparkling water is a good choose when you’re out and about.
Tips on increasing your fluid intake
- Keep a jug of water ‘ready to go’ in the fridge.
- Add ice and a slice of lemon to water to jazz it up.
- Listen to your body. If you feel thirsty – grab a drink!
- Have a drink first thing in the morning & before bed.
- Have a drink with each meal.
- Carry a bottle of water around with you.
- Have a bottle of water at your desk when you’re working.
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