Hot summer days can be a bit uncomfortable for almost everyone. This is precisely why it's so important to be sure that you're drinking enough water to stay hydrated and keep your body in balance. The question is how much water to drink? Are some times of day that are better than others for drinking? What's behind the well-known recommendation to drink 2 litres of water every day, and is that actually the right amount? Today we'll be giving you all the facts.
If there's not enough water in the human body, the absorption of nutrients is hindered and the shedding of metabolic waste and toxins is limited. Many harmful substances thus remain in the body's cells. Among the functions of water is the transportation of nutrients to the 60 billion or so cells in the body as well as transporting waste out of the cells so that they can be passed out of the body. Many enzymes are also involved in these processes. Without water, or better said without enough water, these enzymes are not able to fulfil their role as they need vitamins and minerals along with water as a transport medium.
Water is essential for many other processes as well, for example facilitating the circulation of blood and the movement of lymph. Water also keeps the entry points for viruses and bacteria moist (e.g. the bronchioles, mucous membranes in the stomach and intestinal tract) and thus it plays a role in the activation of the immune system. Water is needed all over the body, and without enough water the body simply cannot function.
How much water should one drink every day?
In general, the amount of water that a person loses in a day is roughly 2.5 litres. The food we eat also contains water, so we need to be drinking 1.5 to 2 litres of water per day – the exact amount depends on one's diet, the environmental temperature and our level of activity. We're talking pure water here and not tea, coffee, beer or any kind of juice.
What is the best time of day to drink water?
If you drink a lot of water immediately before mealtimes, then your stomach will still be full of water when you eat and your appetite will decrease. On the contrary, if you actually drink a lot of water with your meal, the digestive enzymes in your stomach will be less concentrated. This hampers proper digestion and hinders the absorption of nutrients. Drinking a little bit of water while you eat can be nonetheless be helpful, though not more than a small glass (i.e. about 250ml). By taking time and chewing your food sufficiently, it will be mixed well with saliva and become more moist and diluted, making it easier for your stomach to process.
Ideally you should be drinking some water immediately after getting out of bed in the morning as well as about an hour before every meal. It takes 20 to 30 minutes for water to leave the stomach and pass into the intestinal tract. By following this schedule, you'll be supporting optimal digestion and nutrient uptake. Here's a sample daily play for water drinking:
- 500 to 750ml in the morning when you wake up, at least an hour before breakfast
- 500 ml (about a pint) an hour before your midday meal
- 500 ml (about a pint) an hour before your evening meal
Of course you can adjust this schedule to fit your individual needs. In the summer, or whenever you're sweating more than normal, more water is needed. You can also drink a bit of water outside the mentioned times if you are feeling thirsty. People with stomach or intestinal problems may actually develop diarrhoea if they drink the recommended amounts of water. Not to worry – you can also tune the quantity of water to your own body. If you do develop diarrhoea from drinking more water than what's normal for you, simply decrease the amount to 350ml.
It's moreover important to avoid drinking cold water. A rule of thumb is that the water you drink should be roughly body temperature, and you should always make sure that you're drinking slowly.
Here's on more thing to keep in mind: As noted above, your own feeling of wellness should be your guide when choosing how much water you drink and when. The provided plan is merely a suggestion. There is simply not a lot of science when it comes to the "right" way to drink water. Our team has taken the time to do some thorough research, and they've also tested out the hydration schedule found above. The conclusion is that it works well. Give it a try for yourself, and don't worry if you need to adjust things to suit your needs.Source: Dr. Hiromi Shinya, Living without Disease
Dr. Hiromi Shinya is an internationally renowned digestive system specialist. He is a pioneer in the fields of gastroscopy and colonoscopy. He was a Professor of Clinical Surgery at the Albert Einstein School of Medicine, Medical Director of the Endoscopy Department at the Beth Israel Medical Center in New York, and advisor to a number of clinics in Japan specialising in the stomach and intestines. During his career he has worked with over 370,000 patients, including stomach and intestinal examinations, documentation of their dietary habits and the development of nutritional recommendations based on his findings. He is now over 80 years old.
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