How much water should you drink a day?

Why is my water consumption important?

Are our bodies in a drought? Dehydration is a common ailment that most of us aren’t even aware we have. In fact, water is the most common nutritional deficiency in the American population. You may even see the signs of it etched in your skin.

When it comes to your body’s nutritional needs, we mostly think of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Surprise! Water is the most important nutrient in the body. You can go 8 weeks without food but only days without water. It makes up 55-60% of our body’s total mass, is found in all tissues, and constitutes most of the volume of our cells.

Water plays many important roles in our bodily functions:

  • Improves oxygen delivery to cells
  • Transports nutrients
  • Cushions bones and joints
  • Regulates body temperature
  • Empowers the body’s natural healing process

The body can produce only about 8% of its daily water needs through the metabolic process. The remaining 92% must be ingested through the foods we eat and the beverages we drink. A well balanced diet high in vegetables and fruits will produce about 28% of the water we need through ingested foods, which leaves about 64% that needs to come from the liquids we drink.

Am I dehydrated?

The problem is that our liquid consumption very often consists of drinks that dehydrate the body like coffee, alcohol, black teas, energy drinks, and sodas (including diet soda). For many busy working adults, an average day of liquid consumption likely looks like this: Wake up and have a cup or two of coffee. Get to work and have another one or two cups of coffee. At lunch have a soda or iced tea. In the afternoon, when the mid-day crash occurs, pop open an energy drink. Maybe you drink a bottle of water during your workout. Or maybe you head home instead for a glass or two of wine.

If this sounds like you, then you are among the 75% of the population that is severely dehydrated. Symptoms of dehydration can sneak up on you or mask themselves as symptoms of other illnesses like indigestion. Your first thought when you feel that slight burning in your gut and throat is you ate something that didn’t agree with you. Maybe…or maybe you are so severely dehydrated that your digestion is compromised.

What symptoms should I look for?

The early signs of dehydration include:

  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Cravings
  • Cramps
  • Headaches

Not to suggest that water is a cure for depression, but this is why it can be hard to pinpoint your symptoms of dehydration. But supposing the next time you did drink a glass of water to treat what feels like the blues, what is the worst that could happen? Maybe an extra trip or two to the bathroom?

When dehydration becomes a more permanent state of the body’s condition, the symptoms also become more severe and can include:

  • Heartburn
  • Joint Pain
  • Back Pain
  • Migraines
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Constipation
  • Colitis

How much water should I drink?

The cure for dehydration is so simple: Drink More Water. If you aren’t sure how much water you need to intake on a daily basis, follow this formula –

Body Weight • 2

If you are like most people and drink a diuretic like that morning coffee, then you need to adjust your daily water intake with this formula –

(Oz of Diuretics x 1.5) + Body Weight • 2

When you first start to follow these guidelines, you could feel overwhelmed with how much water you need to be drinking. Remember you can also get your daily water consumption from green leafy vegetables, fruits, herbal teas, and other non-caffeinated or sugary drinks like some of the newer sparkling waters on the market. You can also add minerals to your water or purchase water with a higher pH to help lower the acidity in the body.

So drink up! You can plump your skin, smooth your wrinkles, and bring your body back to life with something as simple as a glass of good old H2O.