Keeping your body hydrated is much more than just drinking water to quench your thirst, as hydration plays an integral part in many bodily functions. Being adequately hydrated allows the body to regulate a normal temperature. Water also delivers vital nutrients to cells and helps to keep joints lubricated.
Is drinking 2 litres of water a day enough? Why is it important to know? Consuming the appropriate amount of water helps with cognition, fighting infections, and some say it may even allow us to sleep better at night. With this in mind, we thought we would look deeper and see if drinking two litres of water a day is enough or too much for everyone.
Dehydration and dizziness
When your body is dehydrated, it presents many symptoms to let you know and can include many of the following:
- A dry mouth
- Muscle cramps
When your body does not have enough water, it causes organs, cells, and tissues to fail. If your body is severely dehydrated, it can even lead to you going into shock. In most cases, by the time we feel thirsty, the body is already dehydrated.
When your body is dehydrated, the blood volume decreases, lowering your blood pressure and not allowing the brain to get the blood it needs. The result of this is a feeling of dizziness, and while it might be overcome by drinking a glass of water, it will depend on how severely your body is dehydrated. If you have not eaten or drank much for several days, rehydrating your body will take more time. You may also need to go to the hospital and receive an intravenous fluid infusion to help hydrate you.
What are the benefits of drinking enough water per day?
By drinking plenty of water a day and staying hydrated has many beneficial attributes, as you can see in the below list:
- Your joints work better because water makes up a large part of joint cartilage that helps absorb shock and make movement smoother.
- Drinking plenty of water can also help keep gout at bay because it helps flush toxins from your body.
- Drinking enough water can help regulate your body temperature and deliver oxygen around your body.
- Having a sufficient amount of water per day helps your kidneys remove waste from your blood and can help prevent kidney stones and urinary tract infections
- Drinking eight glasses of water a day may help you lose weight as it helps speed up your metabolism and can stop you from feeling hungry
- Water helps produce saliva, making digesting food more manageable and keeping our mouth, nose, and eyes moist.
- Drinking water, as opposed to sweetened beverages, can help prevent tooth decay
- Being adequately hydrated helps keep our skin healthy and prevents wrinkles
Top tips for Hydrating
While drinking plenty of water is essential to stay hydrated, you can also help your body get the water it needs by eating certain foods high in water content. Of course, the top of the list is watermelon, as it has half a cup of water for every serving. Low in calories, the summertime favourite has essential nutrients: vitamin C, vitamin A, and magnesium. Strawberries also have a high water content that makes up 91% of the weight of the fruit. Most fruits contain significant water content, as do salads made using lettuce, cucumber, and tomatoes. Being water-based, eating soups and broths is an excellent way to help keep your body hydrated.
When exercising or when the outside temperature is scorching, it is essential to stay hydrated, which is why you often see athletes drinking sports beverages like Gatorade. While these drink types help your body obtain electrolytes, they also contain various sugars that are not so seldom needed. There are better alternatives such as GoHydrate. This fruit-flavoured sachet is simply added to water. GoHydrate is an isotonic drink devoid of sugar that contains five essential electrolytes with the bonus of vitamin D.
Coconut water is renowned for rehydrating after exercise or during mild illness. Coconut water has natural electrolytes, such as potassium, sodium and manganese, and this may be why it is a popular drink after sports or workouts.
Homemade Oral rehydration solution (ORS).
In certain circumstances, such as illness, one may become dehydrated very quickly. You can, of course, purchase a ready-made rehydration solution, but if you don’t have any to hand, this homemade oral rehydration solution may help:
Mix one level teaspoon of table salt, eight-level teaspoonfuls of sugar, and one litre (five cupfuls at 200 millilitres each) of clean water. You may see the symptoms of dehydration improve in as little as five to 10 minutes after drinking appropriate fluids.
Rehydration skin test
Simply pinch the back of your hand. Check If your skin takes longer than two seconds to return to a normal state. If so, you may be dehydrated. If severely dehydrated, a person may need to be rehydrated intravenously, so get checked out by a health professional if you’re concerned!
Is 2 litres of water a day enough?
In conclusion, some health experts still recommend drinking eight 240 millilitres (8-ounce glasses), which equals about 2 litres or half a gallon a day. However, although not 100% clear, research indicates that this recommendation may be too much water for some people and not enough for others. At the same time, there are certain circumstances in which water needs to increase. Some experts believe that healthy people typically don’t need to be consuming water in such large quantities. Thirst is the easiest way to tell that you need more fluids. However, just to confuse you, if you’re thirsty, you’re already mildly dehydrated, which can cause other symptoms listed above.
What is the right amount of water for my body?
- If you have certain health conditions, talk to your healthcare provider who can explain the right amount of water for you to drink each day.
- Drink water throughout the day, including mealtimes. Avoid highly sugared carbonated or non-fizzy drinks, alcohol and caffeinated drinks.
- One way to ensure you are adequately hydrated is to check the colour of your urine. Clear, pale means you seem hydrated. You may need to drink more water if it’s darker than that.
- To avoid dehydration, people playing a sport or exercising – will benefit from drinking considerably more fluids than usual during the activity and one to two hours before any exerting activity. You will likely need to drink more water when you have finished the sport or activity too, but don’t overdo it. Remember to test your urine as mentioned above.
- Keep track of how much fluid you drink in one day and assess your thirst.
How can I motivate myself or others to consume more water?
- Force yourself to carry a water bottle everywhere you go until it becomes second nature to you.
- Add a fruity twist to the taste. A slice of lemon or lime may engage your taste buds.
- Choose water over tea, coffee and sugary drinks.
- Consume foods that are high in water content. Many soups, fruits and vegetables meet this description.
- Sip your water regularly instead of thinking you have to consume a large amount in one go.
Although water may not be the nations favorite drink, there are many benefits to getting enough h2o in your body. So why not make it a plan to remember to drink enough water and keep hydrated.