HealthDecoding the dangerous myths of daily water intake: hydration essentials you need to know

Decoding the dangerous myths of daily water intake: hydration essentials you need to know

How many glasses of water should we drink in a day?
How many glasses of water should we drink in a day?
Images source: © Getty Images | &#169 Gary Allard
6:10 AM EST, January 14, 2024

Hydration is vital

Water plays a crucial role in regulating the workings of our body, including the digestive and circulatory systems. It favors our skin and promotes overall well-being. Hence, proper hydration is the foundation of a healthy lifestyle.

Our bodies consist of 60-70 percent water; therefore, it's no surprise that we need substantial amounts for optimal functioning. Even though the general recommendation is to drink about eight glasses of fluids a day, such a quantity can be harmful to some people.

The quantity of water consumed depends on several factors, including age, gender, body weight, activity level, health condition, and diet. These factors must be taken into account to avoid causing ourselves harm.

Drinking too much water at once isn't beneficial either

Typically, women should drink about 9/10 of a gallon of water, and men about 1 gallon. Considering an average glass holds about 8.5 ounces, women should target 11 glasses, and men should aim for as many as 15, but there's a caveat.

We inadvertently hydrate ourselves while consuming meals. Some foods, mainly vegetables and fruits, have high water content. Therefore, consuming 11 or 15 glasses of water along with such meals might be an overkill.

Excessive water consumption can lead to renal failure, a condition aptly termed "overhydration" or hyponatremia. This condition arises when the sodium concentration in the blood falls below the normal range of 135-145 mmol/l. The kidneys are able to process 27 to 34 ounces of fluid per hour.

Overburdening the kidneys with too much fluid means they won't filter it properly. Excess water can also accumulate in cells and tissues, resulting in swelling and compromised health.

You may also find this useful: NASA recommendations for indoor plants: Why to keep them in your bedroom

Potential harm from dehydration

Water must be replenished consistently as we lose it through physical exertion, sweating, urinating, and even speaking. Dehydration, even to the extent of only 1 percent, can significantly affect our health and well-being.

Inadequate hydration results in physical decline, fatigue, and can even impair cognitive functions. Water is integral to many processes in our body. It maintains our organs' health and aids our brain functionality.

If we fail to replenish fluids, we may experience headaches, breathing difficulties, elevated heart rate, and low blood pressure. Going a few days without water can lead to fatal consequences.

Related content