We have all heard stories of people permanently damaging their kidneys or even dying due to excessive intake of water. Experts have consistently advised against too much water. On the flip side, experts are also of the opinion that too little water will damage our system and lead to diseases and weight gain. We will retain water and fat and our metabolism will suffer. Then, how much water does our body actually need and how much water is actually too much water in a day.
Some tips on understanding the human body’s need for water and drinking the right amount of water:
- The human body needs water for its bodily functions such as flushing out toxins from the system. Water also aids the metabolism rate of the body. It is also required by the blood running in our body and the blood cells.
- If we drink too much water in a day, it will eventually increase the blood volume in our system. If we continue to do this over a period of time, then it will put unnecessary pressure on our blood vessels and heart.
- The kidneys are responsible for filtering out excessive amounts of water from the system in the form of urine. However, if there is too much water in the body, then the kidneys will malfunction and the body will bloat. Over a period of time it will damage the kidneys beyond repair.
- The kidneys have a vital organ called the Glomeruli. The glomeruli are special cells which filter the excess water. If you drink too much water, the glomeruli will fail. Then a condition called Dilutional Hyponatremia will set in. Dilutional hyponatremia is similar to drowning in fresh water where organs inside the body are submerged in water. This will, in most cases, lead to death.
- If you drink too much water in a short period of time, for example in a day, your cells in the body will bloat. This will happen because excessive water in the blood will cause dilution and a loss of electrolytes. In an effort to maintain balance, water will enter the cells and they will bloat. If water enters the cells in your brain, then those cells will bloat and your brain will squeeze. You might experience symptoms such as headaches and difficulty in breathing. This might even cause death.
How much water do we need?
There have been constant debates how the amount of water a human body needs to sustain itself. The amount of water that we need depends on a few decisive factors.
- Men and women have different water needs. Men require about 3 litres of water and women need about 2.2 litres of water in a day.
- People who exercise or sweat a lot will need more water.
- If you live in the tropics then your water intake will be more that of a person who lives in colder climates.
- Bodies are different and every body’s need of water is also different. An indicator of the water level in the body is your urine. Coloured urine is usually a sign of dehydration. This, however, is not a definite sign as some permitted colours in food tend to add colour to the urine.
- The most important point is to understand your body. Your body will tell you when it needs water. A dry throat and mouth, for example, is an apt signal.
Water is very important for our body. However, do not ape another person’s water drinking habits. What is the right amount of water for them in a day might just be too much water in a day for you.
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