Why do we drink water?
You probably already heard it as a child and still as an adult: drink enough water. However, this is not just said and it is certainly not a conspiracy to make everyone drink water: it has an important reason. Moisture aids in the absorption of nutrients in the intestines, the transport of nutrients through the body and the removal of waste from the body. In addition, it also supports the regulation of your body temperature. So it is actually a kind of miracle drug.
There are several ways your body can get moisture. This way you get a part from your diet. Fruit and vegetables, for example, have a high moisture content and this naturally ends up in your body when you eat. However, you get most of the moisture from what you drink. It is also important to take into account what you drink, but we will discuss that later in this text.
Adults generally need between 1.5 and 2 liters of fluid per day in the form of drinking. This is without counting your diet. How much you need as an individual depends on a number of factors such as:
- Your age
- The outside temperature
- How much you exert yourself physically
- what you eat
- The state of your health
For example, people who are breastfeeding or pregnant need more fluids than someone who sits still every day in a refrigerated office space.
Drinking water for your health
As humans, we consist largely of moisture. For women this is about 52%, for men 63% and babies consist of 75% moisture. All this fluid occurs in different parts of the body. About 2/3 is in your body cells and tissues (except adipose tissue, which contains no fluid) and the rest is in the blood and in the space between your cells. Drinking water ensures, among other things, that your body contains more fluid.
It is important to drink enough water every day, because this will replenish your lost fluids. When you urinate, sweat or just let your body function, you always lose a little moisture. This is very normal, but it is important to drink continuously to avoid dehydration.
take care of yourself during the hot summer days.
What happens with dehydration?
Drinking water (and other drinks) is also very important to prevent dehydration. Dehydration occurs when there is a lack of fluid in the body. Babies, children and the elderly are especially at risk of dehydration and should therefore certainly drink enough in a day. Depending on the severity of the situation, you may experience mild or severe dehydration symptoms.
Mild dehydration symptoms include:
- Having a dry mouth/throat
- Being thirsty
- Peeing little and having a dark yellow color when urinating
- muscle cramp
- Decreased skin elasticity
Severe dehydration symptoms look like this:
- Pass out
- being drowsy
- Rapid and/or irregular breathing
- Fast and/or irregular heartbeat
- deep-set eyes
- Cold or clammy limbs
- become unconscious
If you recognize one or more symptoms in yourself or in someone else, contact a doctor or doctor immediately.
Waking up with a dry mouth? Here's what you can do about it!
How does dehydration arise?
There are several reasons why you may suffer from dehydration. Sometimes it occurs when you are sick, such as when you have diarrhea or are vomiting. Your body then loses a lot of fluid within a short time. It can also happen when it is very hot and you forget or skip drinking water. You also have the following possible causes:
- sweat a lot. When you sweat, you lose moisture. When you sweat excessively, you lose more fluid. If you don't drink extra, you can suffer from mild dehydration symptoms.
- Disease. Vomiting and diarrhea can also lead to dehydration symptoms. Often these symptoms are part of an illness or food poisoning. Although it is sometimes difficult to keep water down, drinking water (even 1 or 2 sips) is very important to prevent dehydration.
- Nausea. This corresponds to illness. When you suffer from morning sickness, you often have no need to eat or drink at all. Try to drink some water, ginger tea or chamomile tea. Ginger and chamomile help with nausea, so you may be able to keep a little more down.
- Pee a lot. Water tablets or certain conditions can cause you to urinate a lot. This in itself is not a problem, but you do lose a fair amount of moisture. So make sure you drink enough to maintain your fluid balance.
When you suffer from dehydration, the best remedy is to drink more. Especially with mild dehydration symptoms, it is important to replenish the fluid balance. It also helps to drink something sweet and/or salty to provide your body with enough glucose and salt. You can also use so-called ‘oral rehydration salts' (ORS). You can buy these at the drugstore.
In case of severe dehydration symptoms, it is important that you see a doctor. This can be very dangerous and the doctor or hospital can offer you the best help. So don't wait too long before you recognize the signals.
Can drinking too much water hurt?
Drinking water (and other drinks) is therefore very important to prevent dehydration. However, there is such a thing as drinking too much water. This may sound crazy, but it's really true. It is therefore important to find a good balance when drinking and to spread your drinks throughout the day. If you drink too much, you can suffer from water intoxication.
On average, your kidneys can process about 8 to 10 liters of water per day, but spread over a whole day. Because you normally only need 1.5 to 2 liters, this is already a lot, but if you drink it very slowly and a little every hour, it should do little harm.
Toxicity occurs when you drink a lot within a short period of time. Drinking water is especially dangerous. Because water does not contain salts and sugars, the salt concentration in your blood decreases, making it easier for the blood to penetrate into surrounding tissues and cells. This causes the cells to swell. When this happens in your brain, it can even be fatal.
The most common causes of water intoxication are:
- Due to excessive water intake. As we mentioned above, drinking too much water can be very harmful to the body.
- By retaining moisture. When your body, due to medication or a condition, retains more fluid than necessary, you can also suffer from water intoxication more quickly. This happens when your kidneys don't work as well, but certain drugs also play a role, such as ecstasy.
With water intoxication, it is important to go straight to the hospital where they will treat you with a certain saline solution, diuretics and cortisone. The best way to prevent this is by just drinking slowly and not drinking too much water.
Read more about it here diuretics.
Is drinking water the healthiest option?
When you look at what is the healthiest to drink, drinking water is really the best option. This is because water contains no sugars, no salts, no added substances and no calories. It is very neutral and works best for maintaining your body's moisture levels.
Still, it can't hurt to drink something else every now and then. Tea also helps to hydrate your body, just like coffee. However, it is important to know that caffeine has a diuretic effect, so that you can lose more fluid through urination.
Sodas and juices contain a lot of acids that can damage your teeth. If you drink a glass once a day, there is little to worry about, but it is better not to drink too much of this. The same goes for sports drinks. These often contain extra carbohydrates, which is very useful if you are an intensive athlete. When you exercise recreationally, however, you often have enough with a sip of water and you do not need the extra carbohydrates.
Tips to drink more
If you notice that you naturally drink very little, or would like to actively drink more, it is useful to start well. The following tips will help you drink more and ensure that you can continue to do so in the long term.
- Take a reusable water bottle with you everywhere you go and top it up when you're halfway through.
- Set some alarms on your phone to remind you to drink a cup of water.
- Replace other drinks with water. If you are used to drinking 4 cups of coffee in one day, try replacing one with a glass of water.
- Drink a cup of water before every meal.
- Place your bottle in a place where you can see it immediately, such as on your desk, coffee table or on the counter.
- Add a flavor. A little syrup or orange doesn't hurt much and it helps to make drinking water just that little bit more fun.
- Avoid alcohol and drink in moderation. Alcohol can make you dehydrated more easily.
- Take a few sips at a time throughout the day. At the end you still have quite a bit to drink.
- Eat foods with a high moisture content, such as lots of fruits and vegetables.