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Hydration Fights Fatigue, Weight Gain, and Illness

Infographic - The Importance of HydrationThe importance of correct hydration on the human body cannot be underestimated. Hydration fights fatigue, weight gain, and illness. In fact, experts, agree that water intake is critical to human functioning and performance.

However, a relatively recent shift toward large proportions of fluids coming from high-calorie beverages has contributed to significant increases in population obesity too.

Learn to drink water when not feeling thirsty

Although the homeostatic mechanisms of water consumptions are complex, it is clear that a constant water and mineral balance is necessary to maintain a person’s health and performance. Many areas are involved, including hormonal factors, blood pressure, and organ functioning.

Research has also shown that, although older people require as much water as their younger counterparts, they tend to drink less because of changes in their regulation of thirst. In simpler terms, older people feel less often thirsty, and can, therefore, benefit from learning to drink regularly when not feeling thirsty.

Water supports thermoregulation

Water also plays a vital role in thermoregulation through sweating. Therefore, drinking more water during times of heat acclimatization is necessary to adapt to hotter climates. To avoid heat stress, people should also increase their water intake, especially older people, who have less ability to thermoregulate and can have an increased risk of dementia because of insufficient hydration.

In addition to the physical effects of dehydration, there are also stress on cognitive, gastrointestinal, kidney, and heart functions, as well as negative effects on skin health, headaches, and increases of the risk of chronic illness.

How much water should we drink?

So, how much water should we drink? Although the appropriate amounts range depending on personal factors, including metabolism and lifestyle, a common recommendation to drink six or eight 8-ounce glasses of water or other fluid every day, according to WebMD. The Mayo Clinic suggests an adequate intake (AI) for men as roughly about 13 cups (3 liters) of total beverages a day. The AI for women is about 9 cups (2.2 liters) of total beverages a day.

References

Belenam, B., & Wyness, L. (2010). Hydration and health: A review. Nutrition Bulletin, 35(1), 3-25. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-3010.2009.01795.x
Horswill, C. A., & Janas, L. M. (2011). Hydration and health.  American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, 5(4), 304-315, DOI: 10.1177/1559827610392707
Popkin, B. M., D’Anci, K. E., & Rosenberg, I. H. (2010). Water, hydration, and health. Nutrition Reviews, 68(8), 439-458. DOI: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2010.00304.x
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Latest update: June 30, 2017