Real Talk 25th August 2015 by Michelle O'Brien
Yes, You Can Definitely Drink Too Much Water – Here’s Your Hydration 101
Follow our hacks to ensure you stay H2O healthy. And guess what? Jelly and ice-cream count towards our fluid intake. Yay!
Water. The beauty secret every supermodel worth her walk-in wardrobe and Tribeca loft claims is the source of her flawless face, tiny waist and 40inch legs. Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but seriously, are we missing a trick? We drink up to two litres a day and there’s no sign of our Angel wings yet. Maybe we’re not drinking enough?
Stop right there. According to nutritionist Richelle Flanagan at Nutrition Wise, the guideline range for women is between 1.5 and 2 litres of fluid per day. So that’s a no to downing that extra bottle of Ballygowan before breakfast, then. “It’s all about moderation,” she says. “Spread your consumption out over the course of the day, just like you would your food.”
Wanna learn more? Us too. Here’s your water 101; prepare to take notes.
What’s the difference between 2 litres of water and 2 litres of fluids?
People fixate on having litres of water a day but forget that other fluids contain water too. You can hit your recommended 1.5 to 2 litres of fluids per day by including milk, tea, coffee, herbal tea, juice and soup too.
How important is it to maintain this intake?
One side of our fluid balance sheet is the fluid we take in, from drinks, food and our body’s own internal production of fluid, and the other side is the fluid we lose, through urine, sweat, breath and bowels. By balancing this input and output, we stay hydrated. If we lose more fluid than we take in, by sweating or vomiting and diarrhoea, or we simply don’t drink enough, we become dehydrated.
Water from the fluids we eat and drink help us to produce saliva and synovial fluids that cushion the joints. Fluids also provide a medium for most chemical reactions in the body to occur, act as a cushion for the nervous system and allows us to get rid of waste products through urine production. They also play a role in body temperature regulation too.
What if we only drink tea and coffee?
Tea and coffee do count as part of our fluid intake but it’s advisable to have no more than 300mg of caffeine a day. This can be reached by having just three brewed coffees (600mls of fluids) or drinking up to six cups of tea (1200mls). It’s important to make up the deficit with more fluids.
Can our body take fluids from food?
Yes, the body can absorb fluids from food and this can contribute up to 1 litre of our fluid intake per day.
So it’s possible to eat our water?
Foods can definitely help us meet our fluid needs. Watery fruits such as watermelon are great for this, as are other foods such as jelly, ice-cream, soups, yogurt, stews and cereal with milk.
Is it possible to drink too much water?
Drinking litres and litres of water is dangerous if done in excess. In temperate climates like Ireland, two litres is plenty. A general rule of thumb is to take in an extra litre of fluids for every hour of high intensity exercise.
What are the dangers of too much fluid consumption?
Sodium levels in the blood dilute causing confusion, circulatory problems, fits, coma and even death in extreme cases – people have died from brain swelling. Those following very low calorie diets and cutting out salt are especially at risk if they take in too much fluids.
On the other side of the coin, what are the effects of dehydration?
There are a few including increased tiredness, headaches, nausea, constipation and a reduced ability to concentrate and make decisions.
How do we check our hydration levels?
It’s called to pee test! Urine should be a pale straw colour and there should be lots of it. If it’s darker, work on getting more fluids in.
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