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Benefits of Drinking Water and Signs of Dehydration

Dehydration symptoms, drinking during workouts, myths vs. truth… Today we’re addressing the questions and issues around the most important fluid in our lives – water.

Water makes up at least 60% of an adult’s body. Not a single body cell can function without it.

Every day, some amount of water leaves the body through urine, sweat, and exhaled breath.

If you don’t replenish the loss, this will lead to a decrease in blood volume (as blood is 90% water).

In turn, this will cause low blood pressure and cause your body to stop sweating.

Since sweating is the mechanism your body has against overheating, body temperature will start going up until it reaches a critical point.

People endure lack of water differently under different conditions.

A healthy person may last without water for about a week in cool weather, although in most cases, it is likely to be about 3–4 days.

Under extreme circumstances (heat or excessive exercise), the body loses 0.3–0.4 gal (1–1.5 l) of sweat per hour.

ithout replenishing the lost fluid, a person may die within a few hours.

No one likes feeling heavy and bloated. Studies have shown that dehydration, even a mild case, affects both your physical and mental well-being.

Dehydration affects how you look. Your skin contains about 30% water, with the middle layer acting like a sponge.

Being well hydrated keeps your skin plump and resilient, giving you a fresh and healthy appearance.

Dehydration also affects how you feel and think. In one study, mildly dehydrated women reported having headaches and difficulty performing tasks and concentrating.

While there can be many causes of water retention, one potential cause is dehydration. It may sound strange, but it’s true!

When you are dehydrated your body holds onto water. You may look or feel swollen because your body isn’t getting enough hydration.

To maintain a feeling of lightness and leanness body, drink lots of water, and consistently maintain a healthy intake of fruits and vegetables.

One more reason your body needs water is to keep your colon functioning properly.

When you're not getting enough H2O, your body compensates by withdrawing fluid from stool, thereby making the stool harder and more difficult to pass. So, adequate water intake helps prevent constipation.

It should be noted, however, that aside from dehydration, there can be other causes of constipation, such as medications, medical conditions, or a lack of fiber in your diet.

Dehydration occurs when our cells and organs consume more fluids than our body takes in. You need to drink more water if you have the following signs of dehydration:

  • increased thirst
  • dry mouth
  • weakness
  • dizziness
  • urine that is dark yellow in color

These are all indications of a dehydrated body. Consume about 2 liters of water per day to stay in good health.

Each person has their own daily water intake norm. It depends on one’s sex, age, weight, overall health, nutrition, and work conditions.

Heat, physical activity, sickness (vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, fever), and breastfeeding are factors that increase the need for fluid.

For example, nursing mothers with no health problems usually need 0.2–0.3 gal (0.75–1 l) more fluid per day compared to the pre-lactation period.

When it is cold, the body uses more energy to keep warm and thus loses more fluid. At low temperatures, the kidneys remove fluid from the body faster than usual.

In 2004, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine of the United States published research results matching the stance of the World Health Organization.

According to their data, the female body needs 0.7 gal (2.7 l) of water per day. It’s important to note that about 20% of this amount comes from food.

Having to drink 8 glasses of clean water daily has become firmly entrenched in our minds. When deciding to change their diet, many people start with increasing their water intake.

The guideline originated in 1945, when the U.S. Food and Nutrition Board published the Recommended Dietary Allowances, claiming that most adults need 0.7 gal (2.5 l) of water daily (about 0.2 teaspoons (1 ml) per kilocalorie a day).

But there was a second part of the statement that seems to have been forgotten.

It said that a significant part of the required water amount is contained in food and beverages, i.e., we should take into account the fluid coming from soups and cereals, fruit and vegetables, tea and coffee.

If you ignore this clarification, the 1945 advice can be interpreted as a recommendation to drink 8 glasses of water daily.

Don’t forget to include everything you drink and eat in your daily water intake. Keep in mind that many fruits and vegetables consist almost entirely of water:

  • cucumber (96.7%)
  • celery, lettuce, radish (95%)
  • tomato, green pepper (94%)
  • cauliflower, watermelon, strawberry, spinach (92%)
  • broccoli, grapefruit, baby carrots (91%)
  • blackberry (88%)
  • pineapple, orange (87%)
  • raspberries, blueberries (85%)

You can log your daily fluid intake in Flo to get personalized recommendations.

Scientists and doctors agree that most healthy people can maintain their body fluid balance by drinking whenever they feel thirsty. Still, clean water is the best choice.

It is thought that older people may be less sensitive to thirst, which is why they are at a higher risk of suffering from dehydration.

The first and most important time to drink a glass of water is right after waking up. This will prepare your body for the day and replenish its fluid levels.

Nutritionists recommend having a glass of water 20–30 minutes before a meal. This simple trick will curb your hunger.

If you feel thirsty after a meal, it is best that you wait for at least half an hour so as not to hinder the digestive process.

Because we are all different, there is no universally perfect timing for quenching thirst.

To provide the body with the necessary amount of fluid throughout the day, you can resort to the effective method of test sipping.

To do this, put a container filled with water in a visible place at home and at work.

Drink a bit of the water every time you notice the container. If taking the first sip makes you want more, then help yourself. If not, don’t force it.

The body loses about 0.5-0.7 gal (2–2.5 l) of fluid daily through breathing, digestion, sweating, and urination.

This amount is replenished with clean water and liquid coming from food and beverages.

Certain factors cause a higher fluid loss:

  • physical activity
  • hot and humid weather
  • sickness (vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, fever) and certain diseases (cystitis, bladder stones, gout)
  • dehydration (Symptoms include thirst, dry mouth, fatigue, muscle weakness, headache, decreased urine output or absence of urination, or dizziness.)
  • pregnancy and breastfeeding

In such cases, you should consume more fluid than usual.

Physical activity makes the body lose large amounts of fluid through sweating.

However, according to research, even moderate dehydration with a loss of only 2% of body weight leads to tiredness, impaired thermoregulation, and low endurance.

To avoid that, stick to some simple recommendations:

  • Drink 17 fl oz (0.5 l) of water 2 hours before a workout.
  • While exercising, drink sufficient amounts of fluid at regular intervals, focusing on your needs.

How do you figure out how much water your body needs? Weigh yourself before and after exercising and subtract the second value from the first one. The resulting figure is the approximate amount of fluid you have lost that should be replenished.

Drinking 17 fl oz (0.5 l) of lukewarm water 30–40 minutes before a meal can boost your adipose tissue metabolism (and hence, the ability to burn calories) by up to 30%.

Consuming 0.5 gal (2 l) of water daily increases the body’s energy expenditure up to 96 kcal, according to research published by the Endocrine Society in 2003.

Another benefit of drinking water is that it suppresses hunger. As a result, you consume fewer calories.

Drinking lukewarm 68–72 °F (20–22 °C) water makes the body use additional energy to heat it up to body temperature.

Those wanting to lose weight should follow these recommendations along with reducing their caloric intake and exercising.

Those wanting to lose weight should stick to the following tips:

  • Drink water instead of high-calorie drinks that are rich in sugar, colorants, and additives.
  • Consume more foods with high water content (vegetables, berries, fruit, cereals and legumes), while monitoring daily carbohydrate intake.

The abovementioned foods are healthy and make you feel full much faster compared to those with low water content. As a result, you eat less.

Some people prefer carbonated water due to the pleasant sensation of the bubbles tingling on the tongue.

If you are among them, we have good news for you. This drinking habit can have a positive effect on your overall health.

Carbonated water possesses the same beneficial properties as still water, and in some cases, it is superior. Sparkling water health benefits:

  • it relieves constipation and digestive disorders
  • it improves the swallowing reflex (especially cold water)
  • drinking it on an empty stomach provides a brief but significant feeling of fullness
  • it makes food stay in the stomach for longer, prolonging the feeling of satiety

Important: if you suffer from gastrointestinal diseases, it is recommended that you drink no more than 10 fl oz (300 ml) of carbonated water per day.

Signs and symptoms of dehydration can be so severe at times, that you might not even know what to do. So always remember to drink enough water, maybe even a bit more than enough!




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