1. How much should you drink?
Did you know that your body is made up of between 60-75% water? It’s no surprise that how much you drink can affect your health. Too much water could result in mineral imbalances, while too little could cause dehydration, headaches or fatigue. So, how much should you drink? Bio-individuality applies not only to food but also to the amount of water our bodies need to function properly. On average, men should ingest about 3 liters (13 cups) and women about 2.2 liters (9 cups) of water each day*. In order to satisfy individual needs, various lifestyle factors need to be taken into consideration. For example, the water content in fresh fruits and green leafy vegetables may increase hydration in the body.
Water intake should be increased in the following situations:
- Hot/humid temperature
- High altitude (above 8,200 feet)
- High exercise level
- Illness of fever, diarrhea, vomiting
- Infections of the bladder or urinary tract
- Pregnancy/breast feeding
- Increased alcohol intake
2. What is the best type of water to consume?
There are many types of water including tap, bottled, filtered, distilled, and alkaline ionized water. Consumption generally depends on cost and availability, as not everybody has access to the best sources of water.
- Tap water, although the most readily available, may not always be the safest option. Some cities have very good purification systems, while others leave traces of cholination by-products, lead and sometimes bacteria. Research your city’s Consumer Confidence Report distributed every year by the Environmental Protection Agency to see if additional home purification is warranted.
- Water filters can help to remove contaminants when environmental toxins pose a threat to water systems. It is important to know which contaminants are present in your water in order to choose the right filter.
- Distillation, a process consisting of boiling water, has also been found to remove impurities and toxins. However, some believe the naturally occurring minerals in non-distilled water are beneficial to health.
- Bottled water has become a popular option for individuals without access to safe tap water; however, there are growing concerns about chemicals from the plastic seeping into the water, as well as the effects that the increasing number of bottles is having on the environment.
- Water ionizers are gaining more recognition for their ability to create alkaline ionized water through electrolysis, which may have certain health benefits.
*Dietary reference intakes for water, potassium, sodium, chloride and sulfate.Institute of Medicine.http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/DRI//DRI_Water/73-185.pdf. Accessed February 23, 2012.