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How much water do we need in a day

To get the adequate amount of water every day the average woman needs 2.7 liters or 11 cups and the average man needs 3.7 liters or 15 cups of water. This figures in water we get from food and liquids in our diet. Vegetables are made up of more than 80% water.

 For just liquid including any liquid drink a woman needs 2.2 liters or 9 cups and a man needs 3 liters or 13 cups. All drinks contribute to hydration, but beverages with caffeine for instance increase urine output. All of the liquid in caffeinated beverages is not lost though. Water as a by product of metabolism provides approximately 250 to 350 milliters or 1 to 1 half of additional water.

We all know how thirst signals us our need to drink water, but did you know that sometimes the thirst for water can lag behind your actual need for water especially during prolonged  exercise or in our older years. Athletes should weigh themselves before and after exercise to realize how much water to replenish their systems with. Athletes currently shoot for 2.5 to 3 cups of fluid for every pound lost during a workout.

Older people need to be reminded to drink plenty of water as well as sick children who have fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and increased perspiration.

Water and waste removal

Did you know water removes excess protein from our bodies through our urine? The more sodium we eat the more is washed out through our urine. Most of the urine a person produces is dictated by how much sodium and protein we take in.  It's possible to limit the amount you have to go to the bathroom by taking in less sodium and protein. Something to think about if you find yourself waking up all night to go. Could just be too much sodium or protein, especially if you drink protein shakes, or if you get lots of sodium through too many processed meals.

Typically a person creates a liter of urine a day depending on how much liquids, protein, and sodium is taken in. If your urine is dark yellow you are probably not getting enough liquids. Heavy ion content of concentrated urine can increase risk of kidney stone formation, in men usually.

Water helps form lubricants in knees and other joints in the body. It also accommodates needs like transfer of nerve impulses and is the basis for saliva, bile, and amniotic fluid. Amniotic fluid protects fetuses in a mother's womb.

Can we drink too much water

Consuming too much water over what the kidneys can excrete can lead to sickness especially if blood electrolytes like sodium become too low. An excessive amount would have to approach many quarts or liters each day. One symptom of excessive water intake is blurred vision. Recently, a woman died during a radio show while attempting to drink as much water as possible for some sort of radio promotion.

Is your water supply safe

These days a lot of people choose bottled water over tap water because they doubt the safety of their public drinking water. Concern is warranted especially depending on the conditions of your local water municipal site. Chlorination doesn't kill contaminants such as the parasite Cryptosporidium found in lakes and rivers. In healthy people it can cause diarrhea, but can be serious for those with compromised immune systems. People at risk should boil their water for at least a minute, or buy a water filter that screens out Cryptosporidium. Water filters make sense for anyone who wants to have clean drinking water. Our family uses a combination of bottled water and water filter. In general, distilled water or water that has gone reverse osmosis is parasite free.

Safe Water Drinking Act

Under the Safe Water Drinking Act, all public drinking water supplies are monitored  for contaminants such as bacteria, various chemicals, and toxic metals like lead and mercury. The local water department is required to mail the test results every year to consumers. According to the EPA the U.S. water supply ranks among the safest in the world, but this water doesn't always meet the EPA's standards for lead and nitrates. Usually the public is warned for nitrates because of the danger in mixing infant formulas. In rural areas especially,  some studies indicate that in one year, about one in five Americans consume water not up to standards.

Think about this to safeguard contamination we are exposed to chlorine and ammonia which is added to kill bacteria. The problem is if it kills bacteria what are the long term effects on us?  There are concerns out there right now that these chemicals could cause rectal or bladder cancer. There is however no conclusive proof of these fears. According to the Nutrition text book, Contemporary Nutrition ,  the risk of chlorinated water to cancer is small about two cases of cancer per 1 million.  One way to get rid of chlorine from your water supply is to install a filter that removes trihalomethanes which are common chlorine by-products.

Sources: Contemporary Nutrition

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