Water's essential for the body's growth and maintenance, as it's involved in a number of processes. For example, it helps get rid of waste and regulates temperature, and it provides a medium for biological reactions to occur in the body.
Water's lost from the body through urine and sweat, and must be replaced through the diet. If you don't consume enough you can become dehydrated, causing symptoms such as headaches, tiredness and loss of concentration. Chronic dehydration can contribute to a number of health problems such as constipation and kidney stones.
The body gets its fluid from three sources:
- Drinks, either plain water or as part of other beverages including tea, coffee and squash
- Solid foods, especially fruit and vegetables (even foods such as bread and cheese provide small amounts of fluid)
- As a by-product of chemical reactions within the body
You may require more fluid if you're very physically active or during periods of hot weather.
The "fact" that a person should consume eight glasses of water per day cannot be traced back to a scientific source.
An original recommendation for water intake in 1945 by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council read: "An ordinary standard for diverse persons is 1 milliliter for each calorie of food. Most of this quantity is contained in prepared foods." The latest dietary reference intake report by the United States National Research Council in general recommended (including food sources): 2.7 liters of water total for women and 3.7 liters for men. Specifically, pregnant and breastfeeding women need additional fluids to stay hydrated. According to the Institute of Medicine—who recommend that, on average, women consume 2.2 litres and men 3.0 litres—this is recommended to be 2.4 litres (approx. 9 cups) for pregnant women and 3 litres (approx. 12.5 cups) for breastfeeding women since an especially large amount of fluid is lost during nursing. Also noted is that normally, about 20 percent of water intake comes from food, while the rest comes from drinking water and beverages (caffeinated included). Water is excreted from the body in multiple forms; through urine and feces, through sweating, and by exhalation of water vapor in the breath. With physical exertion and heat exposure, water loss will increase and daily fluid needs may increase as well.
So according to the institute of medicine, I ought to be swigging back 3 litres daily, maybe even more as I'm tandem feeding! In the early weeks I was very conscientious and drank near 4litres a day (replacing fluid after I lost 3L of blood in labour, I was anaemic and very aware I was needing to be well hydrated while building supply, made drinking my water super important to me).
After a successful 6 months using Weightwatchers, I've decided to go back to basics, to tweak where I need to, to get the best out of the plan, both in terms of easy weightloss and retraining my mind and introducing healthy habits. Identifying 5 key components of the Discover plan and implementing them one by one. Last week was step 1 - calculating my personal weightwatchers daily points allowance and tracking everything that I ate and drank, I'm going to add to that this week with step 2 - Drink plenty of fluids, 6-8 glasses each day.
I flung a Brita Filter in my trolley today - going to keep it in the fridge and make sure I drink the 2 litre capacity eah day. It's all ready to go, filter prepared. Hoping to kickstart my sluggish system and be feeling good once I am properly hydrated!!