Are you drinking enough water? Sometimes, it can be hard to tell whether you’re getting enough water to stay healthy.
People tend to forget the health benefits of water, but it’s important to remember that water benefits your body in many ways.
Drinking water gets rid of waste through urination, sweating and bowel movements. Water protects joints and keeps the body’s temperature normal. It also protects the spinal cord and other sensitive tissues in the body.
Drinking too little water can lead to dehydration. Dehydration symptoms include the following:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Muscle cramps
- Dry mouth
- Fast heartbeat
Dehydration can become severe. If you experience the following symptoms of severe dehydration, seek emergency medical attention immediately:
- Loss of consciousness
If your body is dehydrated and can’t cool itself properly, you can experience heat illness. This involves three stages: heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
On average, the recommended daily fluid intake for men is about 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) for men and 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) for women.
However, the recommended daily water intake is different for everyone — water consumption is not one size fits all. Factors like how hot and humid it is outside, how much you exercise, your sweat rate, how active you are and pregnancy will determine how much water you should drink.
That’s why it’s important to speak with your health care provider about the amount of water you should drink every day.
When you’re determining how much water to drink every day, remember that fluids can come from sources other than water. An estimated 20 percent of daily fluid intake actually comes from the foods you eat. In fact, some foods can provide a significant amount of fluid. Some vegetables and fruits, such as watermelon, are almost 100 percent water by weight.
Even if you don’t like the taste of water, there are many ways to get your recommended daily fluid intake. Here are some ideas to increase your intake:
- Add lemon or cucumber slices to water to make the taste more appealing.
- Add electrolyte drink mixes to water.
- Drink flavored sparkling water.
- Drink low-fat milk, teas or low-sugar juices.
- Eat fruits and vegetables that contain a lot of water, such as watermelon, spinach and celery.