The need to drink water is basic to life and health. The average adult is 70% water! But how much water is enough?
These cookie-cutter ideas ignore important factors such as a personal health and lifestyle - and whether your body truly needs the water.
When you drink water too fast, your body has to scramble to purge the excess. This puts extra strain on your heart and kidneys. Your blood volume expands, forcing your heart and blood vessels into overdrive to maintain balance.
And while drinking water helps your kidneys, too much can damage their delicate filtration system. Going way overboard may cause hyponatremia, forcing sodium levels to plummet as cells take in too much water.
The most serious outcome is swelling of the brain, with symptoms such as headache, confusion, decreased appetite, nausea or vomiting, muscle aches or weakness, restlessness, convulsions, or altered state of consciousness.
Competitive athletes are most at risk, but too much water can threaten anyone.
There are two very easy ways to know whether you are getting enough water.
The most obvious is thirst. Drink when you are thirsty, and don't force fluids to meet a goal.
The second way is to check your urine. It should be light yellow and not have a strong odor. Consuming beets, vitamin B2, and certain other foods can darken the urine, but you get the picture.
Eight times a day is considered average urination.
While fruit juices and other natural beverages can be good your health, the best way to hydrate is to drink water with no fluoride.
If you are hooked on fizzy or sweetened drinks, it may take some time to truly enjoy water. Your body has been trained to associate feelings of satisfaction and comfort with substances that cause blood sugar spikes and other toxic response.
But gradually moving toward healthy drinks will change your thinking and taste buds.
Changing your "drinking habit" is a fast way to begin improving your health and waistline. Hang in there while your tastes are changing, and you will be glad you did.