According to NHANES 2003-2008, the average amount of water consumed by men and women of all ages is below the general recommendation of 8, 8 ounce glasses per day.
It’s a well-known fact that water is good for you. We are constantly hearing about the benefits of consuming adequate amounts of water; healthy skin, weight loss, fluid balance, increased energy, etc. For these reasons and more, you want to MAKE SURE you are drinking appropriate amounts of water daily. Not sure if you are drinking enough water? Here are 5 obvious signs that you may need to increase your fluid intake.
- Dry mouth/skin. If you physically feel thirsty you are already in a state of dehydration. You should constantly be hydrating your body and should never actual FEEL thirst. Also, you may notice your skin is dry, flaky, and less elastic.
- Feeling tired/fatigued. When your body isn’t properly hydrated, it will utilize the water in your blood. This leads to a lack of oxygen being transported throughout the body resulting in fatigue. If you’re feeling that midday work slump, try slugging down some water instead of coffee. Since coffee has diuretic effects, you could dehydrate your body further if consuming large quantities, leaving you feeling even more tired.
- You feel constipated. Drinking water helps to flush out toxins in your body and also promote bowel regularity. If you aren’t consuming enough water, your intestines won’t produce the lubrication needed for you to properly excrete waste. This is especially true if you consume a high fiber diet.
- Your urine is dark yellow. If your urine is heavily concentrated; dark in color or strong in smell, you need to drink more water. Generally speaking, your urine should be a clear, pale yellow and shouldn’t have an odor. Note: certain medications, foods, and vitamins can affect urine color.
- Joint aches and pains. Water also helps to provide lubrication for joints. If there isn’t enough lubrication bones may grind against each other causing pain and permanent damage after a long period of time.
A good rule of thumb to follow is to drink half of your body weight in ounces. For example, someone who weighs 100 pounds should drink at least 50 ounces of water a day. We’ve all heard the “8, 8 ounce glasses of water a day” recommendation, which is a good start too (this is for the average person, some specific disease conditions or excessive activity will have different guidelines). Personally, I try to drink a gallon of water a day. I like to drink a lot of green tea and sometimes I will flavor my water with a water enhancer. Try to pay attention to see how much water you drink in a day; you may be surprised at how little you actually drink.
Having a hard time drinking enough water? Click here for tips on how to drink more water.
How much water are you drinking every day?