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FutureStarrHow much water should you drink a day
Whether you're an athlete or a couch potato, your health depends on the amount of water you drink. It's important to stay hydrated during your workout and a good rule of thumb is to drink about 20 ounces of water for every hour of physical activity. That's about six 8-ounce glasses, or a little more than 2 liters.In March 2010, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) issued a report suggesting an adequate total daily intake of 2 litres of fluids for women and 2.5 litres for men. This quantity includes drinking water, drinks of all kinds and the moisture available from the food we eat. On average our food is thought to contribute about 20% of our fluid intake which, therefore, suggests a woman should aim to drink about 1.6 litres and a man should aim for 2 litres. Each individual's needs are unique to them and depend on their health, age, size and weight as well as activity levels, the type of job they do and the climate they live in. Drinking little and often is the best way to stay hydrated. In the UK, the Eatwell Guide suggests you should aim for 6-8 glasses of water and other liquids each day to replace normal water loss – around 1.2 to 1.5 litres. Water, lower fat milk and sugar-free drinks, including tea and coffee, all count.
Of course, there are many reasons why water is still the better choice. Remember, sugary drinks can lead to weight gain and inflammation, which can increase your risk for developing diseases such as diabetes. Too much caffeine can give you the jitters or keep you from sleeping. And, alcohol intake should be limited to one drink per day for women, and 1-2 drinks per day for men. Sports drinks have a high water content. They also contain carbohydrates and electrolytes, which can help you absorb water and keep your energy levels up. During intense workouts, they help to replace salt lost through sweat. But be careful: many also contain lots of extra calories, sugar, and salt. Check the nutrition label. Pay attention to the serving size, and limit how many you drink. If you drink a lot of water but your kidneys can’t get rid of the excess, you could develop a condition doctors call “hyponatremia.” That means the minerals in your blood are diluted, or watered down. As a result, sodium levels in the blood fall. Your body’s water levels rise and your cells swell. It can lead to serious (even life-threatening) problems. Endurance athletes, like marathon runners, are at risk for this condition.
If you exercise, some studies suggest that as little as a 2% loss in your body’s water content may impact how well you perform physically. Dehydration may compromise your body’s ability to control its temperature, increase feelings of tiredness and unsurprisingly, make exercise more difficult. However, research in this area is conflicting. One small study which kept athletes in the dark about their hydration status showed that dehydration made no difference to their performance. Clearly other factors besides temperature, climate and endurance also play an important role. Thirst and passing dark-coloured urine are key signs that you may be dehydrated, as well as feeling lethargic, dizzy or having a dry mouth and lips. If you’ve been ill with diarrhoea and vomiting or fever, you can become dehydrated very quickly unless you replace the extra water lost from the body. In certain circumstances rehydration solutions can be useful because they help to replace the water, salts and minerals that your body has lost. If you are experiencing this, the NHS recommends that you consult a pharmacist who may recommend oral hydration sachets, and speak to your GP if your symptoms don't improve with treatment.Each individual's needs are unique to them and depend on their health, age, size and weight as well as activity levels, the type of job they do and the climate they live in. Drinking little and often is the best way to stay hydrated. In the UK, the Eatwell Guide suggests you should aim for 6-8 glasses of water and other liquids each day to replace normal water loss – around 1.2 to 1.5 litres. Water, lower fat milk and sugar-free drinks, including tea and coffee, all count. (Source: www.bbcgoodfood.com)