Water is often a hot topic when it comes to losing weight, purifying your body or combating illnesses. However, it is rather worrying when people proudly announce that they are having eight to ten glasses of water a day, which one must presume is in addition to all the other forms of liquid they ingest.

Let us discuss the highly contentious question, how much water should you consume?

In order to understand how much water you need to consume, you first need to understand your body and why you need water. The average human body consists of seventy-two percent water. We do not lose all the water in our bodies on a daily basis, because our body is designed to maintain a balance between water and minerals in our blood and other body fluids.

How do we lose water?
There are three ways to lose the water in your body: sweating, through the lungs, and by excretion of urine and faeces.

How do we take water in?
Our main source of liquid is through a variety of beverages we drink: water, tea and coffee, fruit juice, energy drinks and even beer. What most people tend to forget though is that in addition to drinking water, we consume it in our foods.  Most fruits and vegetables contain of between seventy and ninety percent water. Furthermore, our bodies produce water via our metabolism. This water breaks down foods and allows the body to ingest the minerals and vitamins within the food.

There are four things you need to consider when calculating how much water you need to drink:

  • The Climate
  • Physical Exertion
  • Medical Conditions
  • Slimming   

Number One – The Climate

It is logical that the hotter and drier the climate, the more water we will lose by sweating, and the most liquid we will need to ingest. This is particularly true for countries like South Africa and Australia in the summer months. However, in the mid-winter when it is cold in most countries, our need for water reduces. In order to remain hydrated, ensure that you adjust your drinking habits to the temperature – more when it is hot, less when it is cold.

Number Two – Physical Exertion

The more you exercise the more water you need. In fact, for every thirty minutes that you do physical work – gym or manual labour – you need to drink two hundred and fifty to three hundred millilitres of water. Remember if you work in an office environment; do not overdo your consumption.

Number Three – Medical Conditions

If you have a fever, you should increase your liquid intake, particularly in vitamin C rich fruit juices. When suffering from diarrhoea or vomiting, you need to replace the water and mineral salts you have lost – drink black tea or an energy drink. Patients suffering from gout, liver problems or kidney stones should also increase their water intake, to ensure the body is cleansed of all waste.

Number Four – Slimming

Looking to keep hunger pangs away and lose the extra few kilograms that you are carrying? Drinking water will help fool the mind into thinking it is full and therefore, reducing your craving for food. Furthermore, drink two hundred to three hundred millilitres of water before each meal as it will help you eat less at the meal.

In conclusion, your body needs water to function properly. A dehydrated body will leave you feeling with a headache and feeling lethargic. A quick test is to check the colour of your urine: light/clear colouring is a hydrated body, while the darker it is, the more dehydrated your body is.