How many litres of water should you drink a day?
Dr Margaret McCartney acknowledged in the British Medical Journal that there is no scientific reason behind the claim that everyone should be drinking 8 glasses of water every day. It’s widely regarded as a medical myth, yet it seems to be taken as gospel by modern society, but where did it come from?
The first recorded instance of people being recommended to drink 8 glasses of water every day can be found in the U.S Dietary Guidelines published by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences back in 1945. Almost immediately afterwards, researchers began dismissing the 8 glass quota as a significant overestimate, yet somehow it still exists as an unwritten health rule in the minds of many people across the globe.
As bizarre as it sounds, despite the health benefits of water, there are problems that can occur by drinking too much water.
How much water is too much?
Admittedly, you’d need to ingest a huge amount of water to fall victim to it, but there is such a condition as water intoxication. It usually only occurs in extreme cases where people are replacing fluid after endurance sports (marathon running etc), or as a result of psychiatric conditions where the patient feels compelled to drink phenomenal amounts of water. According to University Health News daily, “water deprivation is a very common cause of headache. In most cases, rehydrating can provide relief from a headache.”
Water intoxication can be prevented by striking a balance between your water intake, and the volume of fluid your body will lose on an hourly basis (roughly 1 litre per hour).
Leading British nutritionist Jane Clarke has repeatedly documented that the body needs at least 2.5 litres of water a day, but this doesn’t mean you need to physically drink that amount. Much of your daily water intake will come through food! For example, lettuce, watermelon, broccoli and grapefruit are 95%, 92%, 91%, and 91% comprised of water respectively. It’s no surprise that fresh fruit and veg tend to have more water in them than processed fatty and junk foods.
By making sure you focus on well-rounded diet, your required water consumption will take care of itself. Opt for water instead of carbonated, sugary drinks where possible, and make a conscious effort to eat more fruit and veg. Your energy levels will be greater, your bowel movements will be healthier, and your hair, skin, and teeth will feel the benefit too. Yes, drink plenty of water, but don’t get hung up on drinking 8 glasses a day!
The benefits of staying hydrated
There are a number of benefits of drinking water on a regular basis. These include:
- Improving physical performance
- Helping to lose weight
- Boosting your mood
- Improving cognitive performance
- Preventing headaches
- Protecting against disease
For more advice on staying healthy abroad, check out our top tips.