The Internet is full of health advice, and one piece of commonly repeated advice is to drink six to eight glasses of water per day. But do we need that much water?
Should you drink eight glasses of water a day?
This myth has been around for a long time, and it is still being perpetuated today. Possibly to help sell bottled water as many people don’t drink tap water and less to do with our wellbeing. The truth is that you do not need to drink eight glasses of water per day. You can get the majority of the water you need from the food you eat.
Water is essential for your body to function, but it is not the only thing that hydrates you. Other beverages and foods can also help you stay hydrated. For example, fruits and vegetables are a good source of water. Many of them also contain other essential nutrients.
The amount of water that a person needs to drink each day depends on many factors, including age, activity level, and climate.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published a report in March 2010 that suggested an adequate total fluid intake for women of 2 litres and 2.5 litres for men. It includes drinking water, various drinks, and the moisture from the foods we eat. As food contributes about 20% of our fluid intake, a woman should aim to drink 1.6 litres of water a day, and a man should aim for 2 litres.
However, these are general guidelines as some people may need more or less water. For example, athletes who exercise vigorously may need to drink more water to replace the fluids they lose through sweat. People who live in hot climates may also need to drink more water to compensate for the fluid loss caused by heat exposure.
It’s important to note that not all of our water comes from beverages. About 20% of our daily water intake comes from our food. So, if you’re eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, you may not need to drink as much water as indicated by the general guidelines.
Can you drink too much water?
Water is essential for human life, and we all know that we need to drink plenty of it every day. But too much water can be harmful, leading to water intoxication (also called hyponatremia).
When you drink too much water, your kidneys can’t excrete all of the excess fluid, which accumulates in your tissues. This can cause a drop in blood sodium levels, which can lead to a number of unpleasant symptoms, such as confusion, nausea, vomiting, and seizures. In extreme cases, drinking too much water can even lead to death.
If you are worried about not getting enough water, try keeping a water bottle with you throughout the day. This will help you track how much water you are drinking and ensure that you are getting enough but not too much.