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Benefits of Water: How much should I drink every day? "What's My Water Quotient?"

Tuesday, February 28, 2012
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They don't call water 'the elixir of life' for nothing - Drink at least 8 glasses each day to energize your cells from the ends of your hair to the tips of your toes.

It is H2O that makes you zing, look beautiful or handsome, muscles strong, body energized, hair and nails healthy and your body pulsating with life. Stop drinking it and your skin becomes as parched and pale as the rippled sand in the Kalahari Desert. Unlike the camel king of the desert, humans unfortunately cannot store water in their body. We need to replenish our water needs on a daily basis to maintain the fluid & electrolyte balance. Every drop of sweat that trickles down your back or rolls off your brow drains your body's stored reserves.

Water - essential for health, essential for life.
The needs of this forgotten nutrient are varied. Water is the lifeline of your body; from making your skin glow, to how you feel, energized or sluggish, it also dictates how good your overall health is. All body functions and processes such as digestion, absorption, transportation of nutrients and elimination of body wastes, regulation of body temperature and more depend on your water quotient. Drink up all the H2O your body craves so you can look and feel good. How tough is it to drink 8-10 glasses in a 24-hour period? Don't depend on thirst cues to guide your water intake even though thirst is a sign of dehydration. The body doesn't overtly tell you that you are dehydrating yourself, but it does give basic signals. So look out for these signals: headaches, body cramps, fatigue & irritability, then understand what your body needs and drink up. So, get with it, attach the water nozzle to your body, and filler-up to get maximum mileage for a healthy lifestyle.

Tips on reminding yourself to drink water:

Keep a bottle and a glass of water on your desk. If you see it, you will drink it for as the saying goes 0 out of sight is out of mind.

Flavor plain water with herbs, cumin, sea salt and fresh mint to improve taste and intake. The salt refreshes the body as well.

Drink a glass upon waking up, to hydrate your night-parched body.

Meal times is a great time to replenish water lost during perspiration from your body. As you are focus on eating, keep the water glass filled up and ready to go.

Quench your thirst with fluids like coconut water, butter milk, lime juice, fresh vegetable/fruit juices that contain plenty of water like cucumber, tomato, pumpkin, watermelon, squashes, aam panna (cooked mango juice extract), bottle gourd, and mint. They are loaded with plenty of vitamins, minerals & antioxidants.

By. Kanchan Saggi

Dietitian, NutritionVista.com

Track your water intake in your "Daily Food, Nutrition & Exercise Diary"

Purchase a Clinical Nutrition Care package to access Nutrition Tools and talk to your personal dietitian who can guide you.


 

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User Comments

18 July, 2013 | rakhi | Reply

rakhi what should water intake if there is a tendency of forming the renal stones?

26 December, 2012 | heena parvin | Reply

heena parvin does lukewarm water or honey or lemon water helps in reducing weight..?

12 June, 2012 | ankita pandey | Reply

ankita pandey Hello , it's ankita i am 23, some one told me that drink more then 12 glass water in a day, so i started drinking water 14 to 16 glass in a day. Plesae tell me it is myth or its was true nd 16 glass water in a day is is good for me or not..

18 June, 2012 | Sangeetha Narayana Swamy | Reply

Sangeetha Narayana Swamy Dear Ankita,

As Ms. Vijayalakshmi Iyengar says, the 8x8 (8 glass and each 8 ounce) is something that every body should achieve with regards to water, this is the minimum requirement.

The other 3-4 cups can be water or any other low calorie fluids like green tea, buttermilk, tender coconut water etc.

The factors that will determine the need for extra water are exercise, environment, any health condition, if pregnant or lactating.

Our body loses water everyday through various functions it performs, we should replenish it by drinking 8 - 12 glass of water and other low calorie and non-sweetened beverages.

13 June, 2012 | Vijayalakshmi Iyengar | Reply

Vijayalakshmi Iyengar
Hello Ankita
I assume you are drinking around 3.5 - 3.7 liters on an average going by the premise that you are referring to a standard glass (8 ounces or around 240ml). Drinking around 16 glasses of water daily is rather excessive and probably would also cut into your appetite.
The suggested level of healthy water intake normally is 8 X 8 – that is 8 glasses of 8 ounces each = a total of 64 ounces or 1.9 - 2 liters of fluid per day and it need not only be water but it definitely is the healthiest. This would ensure that the fluid volume in your body is balanced. Some experts say a person can drink around 8-12 glasses /day. So I guess you need to take a call on what is comfortable to you between 2-3 liters of water.
If you drink excess water you may face water intoxication or ` Hyponatremia’ -low sodium levels or dilution of this electrolyte content of the blood causing mild to moderate swelling of body cells leading to other complications.
Excessive thirst despite drinking around 2 liters of water occurs if you are playing vigorous games/ athletics regularly, a marathon runner, you live in an excessively hot place or an indicator of some health problem in which case you may need to get examined.

22 March, 2012 | neetu sharma | Reply

neetu sharma is it true that consumption of 1 cup of tea reduces 4 cups of water from body?

25 January, 2012 | Vijayalakshmi Iyengar | Reply

Vijayalakshmi Iyengar How much water one must drink also depends on the country in which you staying in or the season at any point in time. If for example you are staying in South Africa (one of the hottest countries) you should not restrict your water consumption to the level that is drunk in Antartica.
If it is a hot summers day you need more water than in winters in the same place.

Secondly it depends on the work you do. If you are doing a lot of physical activity then you need to consume much more than those in sedentary jobs. This includes exercise.

It also depends on if you put on any diet for health reasons. If you are someone with kidney problem you should go by what your nephrologist suggests.

Nonetheless the normal consumption of water is supposed to be 64 ounces a day which is nothing but 8 – 9 glasses of water a day.

If you are obese you can very well overdo this. With the health benefits of water in mind, take advantage to make it a major part of your weight loss plan.

19 November, 2010 | BhagyaShree | Reply

BhagyaShree My mother-in-law drinks very less water, probably about 2 - 3 glasses a day. She feels comfortable with drinking only so much of water is what she says. Her argument is " All these years this is what am doing and have not being dehydrated, so what will happen now? She is a diabetic and hypertensive on medication and under control. What is the reason for her body to be ok with less water?

03 September, 2010 | Tina | Reply

Tina What is the best way to know if you are drinking enough water or not?

03 September, 2010 | Poonam | Reply

Poonam If you are consuming enough water, your urine will be colourless. If it is yellow or dark yellow you need to increase your water intake.

03 September, 2010 | Sukanya Rajkumar | Reply

Sukanya Rajkumar Really a nice article, well written. I was told that every time I felt thirsty, to take a glass of water and not raise the bottle.This way I ensure I drink adequate water and maintain hygiene too.Smart quotient!

02 July, 2010 | Sangeetha Narayana Swamy | Reply

Sangeetha Narayana Swamy Dear Sukanya,

To ensure adequate water intake, we have to cultivate the habit of keeping or carrying a water bottle with us always. This will help in consuming water more frequently. Also it is not like we have to drink water only when we are thirsty, we can keep drinking a mouthful every 10-15 mins.

Include buttermilk, juicy fruits and vegetables, green tea, vegetable juices (with the fiber), flavored water in your diet to ensure the maximum consumption.

Regards,
Sangeetha Narayana Swamy,
Senior Dietitian,
NutritionVista.com

05 July, 2010 | Rajni | Reply

Rajni Out of sight is out of mind. When we have glass\bottle of water in front of us, we surely are going to remember to have it even if we are not feeling thirsty.

12 June, 2010 | Poonam Vaswani | Reply

Poonam Vaswani The best way to find out is to check the colour of urine. Clear to light yellow urine is an indication of proper hydration. Dark yellow urine means you need to increase your fluid intake.

31 May, 2010 | Kanika Jain | Reply

Kanika Jain We lose water through our breath, perspiration, urine and bowel movements. For our body to function properly, one must replenish its water supply by consuming beverages and foods that contain water. Factors like hot and humid climate, exercise, illness e.g. diarrhea or vomiting also modify our requirement of water intake. In general, if one drinks enough fluid so that he rarely feels thirsty and produce 1.5 liters or more of colorless or slightly yellow urine a day, then fluid intake is adequate.

As mentioned in article, we need not to rely on just plain water to quench our thirst. Fluids like coconut water, vegetable juices are great thirst quenchers and healthy too. In fact readily available fruit in summer, watermelon, is almost 90% water by weight! Coffee and tea intake also contribute to water intake, but these should form a major portion of your daily total fluid intake.

Water should be preferred option as it is not only inexpensive and readily available but calorie-free too…!!

Kanika Jain
Dietitian
NutritionVista

31 May, 2010 | Sara | Reply

Sara Does lukewarm water with lemon and honey taken in the morning or even plain lukewarm water help in reducing weight?

21 April, 2010 | Poonam Vaswani | Reply

Poonam Vaswani Hello Vasuki,
Yes you can count green tea as part of water intake.
Thank You for your query.
Poonam Vaswani
Dietitian, NutritionVista.com

21 April, 2010 | Vasuki | Reply

Vasuki I drink Green tea (no sugar/ no milk)close to 1 Litre in a day from morning to evening. Can I count that as part of water intake?

10 April, 2010 | Poonam Vaswani | Reply

Poonam Vaswani Hello Radhika,
Yes, tea can be counted as part of daily water intake.
But, please note that tea contains tannins, which interfere with iron absorption in the body. So, please limit your intake to 2-3 cups per day. Also make sure you do not consume it too close to a meal. People at risk of anaemia should avoid too much tea.
Fresh lime & aam panna may contain too much sugar, so you will need to be careful of the calories they provide
Thank You,
Poonam Vaswani
Dietitian, NutritionVista.com

09 April, 2010 | Radhika J., | Reply

Radhika J., Is it true that I can count my cups of tea as part of my daily water intake??

Also I dont care for plain water, so avoid having any. I dont mind it as nimbu pani or aam panna.
But, I do eat a lot of fruit.

08 April, 2010 | sonia | Reply

sonia Does,lukewarm water helps in reducing extra body weight?

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