Why do we need to drink water ?
The Institute of Medicine recommends that men achieve a daily fluid intake of around 3 liters and that women take in 2.2 liters.
To function properly, all the cells and organs of the body need water. It is also used to lubricate the joints, protect the spinal cord and other sensitive tissues, regulate body temperature, and assist the passage of food through the intestines. Water also helps dissolve minerals and nutrients so that they are more accessible to the body, as well as helping transport waste products out of the body. It is these two functions that make water so vital to the kidneys.
Although some of the water required by the body is obtained through foods with a high water content - soups, tomatoes, oranges - the majority is gained through drinking water and other beverages.
During every day functioning, water is lost by the body, and this needs to be replaced. It is noticeable that we lose water through activities such as sweating and urination, but water is even lost when breathing.
Drinking water is the best source of fluid for the body. Beverages such as milk and juices are also decent sources of fluid, but beverages containing alcohol and caffeine, such as soft drinks, coffee, and beer, are not ideal because they often contain empty calories.
It was previously thought that caffeinated beverages had diuretic properties, that is, they were found to cause the body to release water through urine. However, studies show that fluid loss because of caffeinated drinks is minimal.
How much water should you drink?
The recommended amount of water to be drunk per day varies from person to person, depending on factors such as how active they are and how much they sweat. There is no universally agreed upon amount of water that must be consumed daily, but there is a general level of consensus as to what a healthy amount is. According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), an adequate intake for men is approximately 13 cups (3 liters) a day. For women, an adequate intake is around 9 cups (2.2 liters).
Many people will have heard the phrase, "drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day," which works out at around 1.9 liters and is close to the IOM's recommendation for women. Drinking "8 by 8" is an easy-to-remember amount that can put people on the right track regarding water consumption. Remember, all non-alcoholic fluid counts towards this recommendation.