How much water should you drink?
The body loses around two and a half percent of its water every day, and this rate goes up with exercise and sport. It is essential to drink the recommended glasses of water to avoid dehydration and for the normal functioning of the body. It is also a well known fact that drinking the recommended daily intake of water can reduce the chances of heart disease and kidney problems. Drinking the right amount of water can also help the body regulate temperature and avoid dehydration. The symptoms of dehydration include headaches, tiredness and loss of concentration.
But how much is the 'recommended amount'?
Most healthy adults need between one and a half to three litres a day, so aim to drink six to eight medium glasses of fluid daily. However, if you want to get more precise, the amount of water you require depends on your size and weight.
The CHEK Institute, a world renowned authority on health, has adopted the following guidelines for assessing how much you, as an individual, needs to drink per day:Your body weight (in kg) x 0.033 = the amount of water you should drink daily, in litres
You can judge whether you're drinking enough by the colour of your urine. If it's a pale straw colour then your fluid intake is probably fine. If your urine is dark yellow, you probably need to drink more.
Beverages such as tea, coffee and fruit juices count towards fluid intake, but can have negative health benefits, so it is far better to stick to plain water. (Adverse health effects from displacing water with soda pop, processed juices or coffee include tooth decay, sugar addiction, caffeine addiction, insomnia and ADH!)
Is it necessary to buy bottled water?
There are two types of bottled water: spring water and mineral water
Spring water is collected directly from the spring where it rises from the ground, and must be bottled at the source. UK sources of spring water must meet certain hygiene standards, and may be further treated so they meet pollution regulations.
Mineral water emerges from under the ground, then flows over rocks before it's collected, resulting in a higher content of various minerals. Unlike spring water, it can't be treated except to remove grit and dirt and, therefore undergoes less processing. Different brands of spring and mineral waters have differing amounts of minerals depending on their source.
The drinking water available from UK taps is perfectly adequate to replenish fluid loss, and undergoes many processes to bring it up to the standards set out in the UK Water Supply Regulations. However, think about fitting a filtration system to your drinking water tap to ensure a really clean water supply.
If you purchase bottled water, store it in dark, cool area and in glass if possible. Never purchase water in smoky plastic containers, as they leak all sorts of chemicals into the water. If you're drinking water from a plastic container, make sure that it is clear and keep it out of direct sunlight as this accelerates the leakage of chemicals from the plastic. And once you've consumed the water, don't keep refilling the plastic bottle from the tap - throw it away.
Maintaining your fluid levels
• Start as you mean to go on, with a glass of water when you wake.
• Find time to make yourself regular drinks during the day.
• Keep a bottle of water in your bag (a glass bottle if possible), as it's a convenient way of providing fluid if you're travelling or exercising.
• Get into the habit of having a glass of water with every meal.
• The sensation of thirst is not triggered until you're already dehydrated, so it's important to drink before you get thirsty.
• Increase your intake of fresh fruit and vegetables, as they also have a high water content.
• Consume water at room temperature. Cold water will sit in your stomach until it reaches body temperature.