Our bodies are made up of about 75% water and we can only survive two to three days without it, so it is crucial to our wellbeing that we are adequately hydrated. Most people are told they are not drinking enough which can lead to headaches, fatigue, cravings, and illness, but drinking too much can also have adverse affects such as mineral imbalances. The question is, how much should we be drinking and how do we know when we’ve had enough?
Some experts recommend nine cups a day for women and thirteen for men, but that is a very generalized amount and there are many variables that can warrant more, or less. High humidity, high elevation, exercise, caffeine intake, pregnancy and breastfeeding, and illness all require a higher intake. Also, remember that high water content food like some fruits, vegetables, and cooked grains count towards your daily intake.
As far as what kind of water to drink, the options are tap, bottled, and filtered. Bottled water has become increasingly popular, but often times it is not any better and contributes to increased plastic waste. The standards for tap water are higher than bottled water, however, tap water can contain a certain amount of fluoride, chlorine, and sometimes lead. If you do not want to risk ingesting these toxins there are several types of filters you can buy that are effective and reduce the plastic waste from buying bottled.
Water is really the best liquid to hydrate you, but some people say they just can’t drink plain water. In this case, add some fruit juice, lemon, or any other natural flavor to appeal to your taste buds. It’s better to get the liquid in a different form than not at all. Aim to drink most of your water in the mornings and early afternoons so that your sleep is not interrupted. Experiment with different amounts and notice how you feel. Listening to your body is the best way to determine the right amount for you so use these numbers as a guide but be flexible and think about how your lifestyle may affect them.