We have heard over and over again that we should drink six to eight glasses of water per day to maintain good health. Though water is good for us, most of us ‘choose’ not to drink it.
Most people admit that they don’t like to drink water. They would rather prefer tea, coffee, coconut water or juices. While these drinks are hydrating by themselves, you still need about eight glasses of clean water for your body to function properly. Water lubricates the body, regulates its body temperature, alleviates constipation, regulates metabolism and detoxifies the system.
An adult loses about two and a half litres of water every day through perspiration, breathing and elimination (urine and faeces), and when the body loses five per cent of its total water volume, symptoms of dehydration such as thirst, unexplained tiredness, irritation, dark urine, begin to show up. Continuous water loss, over time, will speed up aging and result in constipation, dry and itchy skin, acne, nosebleeds, urinary tract infection and headaches.
Calculate how much water your body needs in a day:
Water (in litre) to drink a day equals your weight (in kg) multiplied by 0.033. So, if you are 60 kg, you should drink about two litres of water every day.
Reasons why you should drink two to three litres of water every day:
Weight loss: Replacing high calorie drinks (like fruit juices, alcohol, soft drinks) with water will help reduce your caloric intake and result in weight loss. Since water is a zero calorie drink, drinking plenty of it will enable weight loss. Also drink a glass of water before having your meal as it reduces your appetite.
Energy: Even five to seven per cent of dehydration can make you feel very weak and cause muscle and leg cramping. If you find your energy low on certain days, try increasing your water intake, it will help you feel better.
Constipation: Water is the easiest kind of treatment for any one suffering from constipation. Most people have been able to correct constipation simply by drinking two to four glasses of water on waking up.
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI): People who drink two to three litres of water a day seldom suffer from UTI and those who have it, can prevent a recurrence by increasing their water intake.
Kidney stones: Water is the best remedy for kidney stones. Drinking three to four litres of water can help prevent kidney stone in those with a genetic predisposition.
Headaches: Headaches are common in those who don’t drink enough water. Water helps to wash away the by products of metabolism and toxins which may cause headaches.
Healthy skin: Drinking water can add a healthy glow to your skin as it helps detoxify your system. Drinking three to four litres of water even for a week can have a good effect on your skin.
Dr Anjali Mukerjee is a nutritionist and the founder of Health Total, a nutrition counselling centre.