Living in Queensland Australia, water is a big part in our lives. We swim in it, we see it flood homes and towns, we save it when sources are scarce, we see our farming neighbours struggle to find enough to support the life on their land, and we’re told to make sure we drink enough of it because it’s good for our health.
But why & How much is enough?
You probably know why – because it’s essential for life. You may realise that up to 60% of your body is water. But you may not always think about the MANY ways it facilitates your body to function.
Water makes up over 70% of your brain, so adequate water intake is necessary for your brain to function – think memory, cognition and alertness.
Your heart and lungs are also made up of 73% and 89% respectively, water.
Water is necessary to make your saliva, digest your food, assimilate and absorb nutrients.
Water is needed to eliminate body waste – through bowels as well as kidneys.
Your skin needs water to remain healthy and function as a barrier protection for your body.
Water also helps regulate your body temperature, and your blood pressure.
How much does my body need?
An average number of 2L daily is often recommended.
To cater for differing sized bodies it is suggested to aim for approximately 35ml per kilo of body weight daily. So, a 70kg person should aim to drink approximately 2.5L water daily.
It is also important to consider things that can encourage your body to excrete more water, thereby increasing your required daily intake. These substances can have a diuretic effect, which just means they encourage your body to excrete more water through your kidneys. Alcohol and caffeine are two commonly consumed substances with a diuretic effect. Some medications, including herbal preparations can also have this effect (they can be used therapeutically for this reason).
Perspiration is another common way your body loses fluid (along with minerals). Hot weather, exercise or any other form of exertion can increase your perspiration, and therefore your body’s water loss.
Drinking straight, room temperature, filtered water is the ideal way to consume your recommended daily intake.
If you don’t like plain water you can try flavouring it with fresh fruit or vegetables/juice. Some good ones for this include lemon, lime, cucumber or mint. But you can be as creative as you like. Just try to avoid high sugar fruit juices in too high quantities.
If you find you need to run to the loo as soon as the water passes by your lips, there can be a couple of different approaches that are helpful. Sometimes it takes a while for your body to adjust to getting enough water in, so gradually increase your intake, with bigger increases on days you are at home or can access a toilet easily. Or try adding a big glass of water first thing in the morning, and as you are winding down at the end of the day (not just as you go to bed, give it time to come through). Remember you are supposed to urinate around 6 times daily, this is one way your body eliminates waste and toxins.
If you are concerned you are excreting too much or not enough water regularly it is important you see your Health Care Practitioner about this, and remember, we are here to help you with working on getting enough water in and out of your body.