Water is the most common compound on earth, the fluid which all life depends upon. Humans need to drink water! It’s the one liquid Humans must have to live. An average person can go nearly two months without eating, but less than a week without water. Yet, important as water is, most of us know little about it, let alone how much water a human needs to consume?
The skinny on water:
- Water helps to maintain healthy body weight by increasing metabolism and regulating appetite.
- Water leads to increased energy levels. The most common cause of daytime fatigue is actually mild dehydration.
- Drinking adequate amounts of water can decrease the risk of certain types of cancers, including colon cancer, bladder cancer, and breast cancer.
- For a majority of sufferers, drinking water can significantly reduce joint and/or back pain.
- Water leads to overall greater health by flushing out wastes and bacteria that can cause disease.
- Water can prevent and alleviate headaches.
- Water naturally moisturizes skin and ensures proper cellular formation underneath layers of skin to give it a healthy, glowing appearance.
- Water aids in the digestion process and prevents constipation.
- Water is the primary mode of transportation for all nutrients in the body and is essential for proper circulation.
Considering the issue of water from the perspective of supply and demand some interesting facts emerge that can help increase our awareness about the acquisition, use and misuse of this vital resource.
Doing the Math
Every day a human loses water through breathing, perspiration, urine and bowel movements. For a human body to function properly, we must replenish our water supply by consuming beverages and foods that contain water. This is why there are different kinds of filters; some that use salt but those may not be for everyone since some people have medical problems like high blood pressure. In these situations it may be best to use an effective salt-free water softener.
The average urine output for adults is about 1.5 liters (6.3 cups) a day. You lose close to an additional liter of water a day through breathing, sweating and bowel movements. Food usually accounts for 20 percent of your total fluid intake, so if you consume 2 liters of water or other beverages a day (a little more than 8 cups) along with your normal diet, you will typically replace the lost fluids.
One popular method of calculating the necessary daily water intake is the “8 x 8 rule” – drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day (about 1.9 liters). The rule could also be stated, “drink eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid a day,” as all fluids count toward the daily total. Though the approach isn’t supported by scientific evidence, many people use this basic rule as a guideline for how much water and other fluids to drink.
There are different ways to calculate human water needs. As a general recommendation you can simply follow the replacement rule based upon gender. Men consume roughly 3 liters (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day and women consume 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of total beverages a day.
In any event you should drink enough fluid so that you rarely feel thirsty and produce 1.5 liters (6.3 cups) or more of colorless or slightly yellow urine a day.
The amount of water a human needs can vary. Humans need to modify their total fluid intake depending on how active they are, the climate they live in, their health status, and if they are pregnant or breast-feeding.
If humans exercise or engage in any activity that makes them sweat, they need to drink extra water to compensate for the fluid loss. An extra 400 to 600 milliliters (about 1.5 to 2.5 cups) of water should suffice for short bouts of exercise, but intense exercise lasting more than an hour (for example, running a marathon) requires more fluid intake.
How much additional fluid humans need depends on how much they sweat during exercise, how long they exercise and the type of activity they are engaged in. During long bouts of intense exercise, it’s best to use a sports drink that contains sodium, as this will help replace sodium lost in sweat and reduce the chances of developing hyponatremia (loss of Sodium), which can be life-threatening. Additionally, humans need to continue to replace fluids after they are finished exercising.
Hot or humid weather can make humans sweat and require additional intake of fluid. Heated indoor air can also cause human skin to lose moisture during wintertime. Further, altitudes greater than 8,200 feet (2,500 meters) may trigger increased urination and more rapid breathing, which use up more of a humans’ fluid reserves.
Illness or health conditions
Signs of illnesses, such as fever, vomiting and diarrhea, can cause a human body to lose additional fluids. In these cases humans should drink more water and may even need oral rehydration solutions with electrolytes. More fluid is needed if a human has a bladder infection or urinary tract stones. Heart failure and some types of kidney, liver and adrenal diseases may impair human excretion of water and even require that a human limits its fluid intake.
Pregnancy or breast-feeding
Women who are expecting or breast-feeding need additional fluids to stay hydrated. Large amounts of fluid are used especially when nursing. Pregnant women should drink 2/3 gallon of fluids daily and women who breast-feed consume 3/4 gallon of fluids a day.
Even with all of the importance water holds in our lives, many of us know very little about the water we use each day. We drink tap water, enjoying the convenience and cost-effectiveness of this practice, yet, we fail to recognize the serious threat this water may pose to our health.
Those who are willing to forgo the convenience of tap water and indulge in bottled water often know very little about the contents of that water and simply trust that bottled water must be better than tap water. Even conscientious consumers, who wisely attempt to treat their own water in an effort to ensure the healthfulness of that water, often know little about the many home water treatment options now available.
Although people used to rely largely upon tap water to fulfill their daily quota of drinking water, in the last two decades, consumers have begun to shy away from this water source due to public health scares. Bottled water companies, promising a purer, healthier water product than tap water, have expanded greatly in order to supply growing demands for quality drinking water. But, in many cases, bottled water is no purer than tap water, and it may not even taste better.
Bottled water companies, because they are not under the same accountability standards as municipal water systems, may provide a significantly lower quality of water than the water one typically receives from the tap. Bottled water, due to several factors, is clearly not a healthier or purer alternative to tap water. Also, bottled water is outrageously expensive when compared to the cost per gallon of tap water.
If one is choosing only between tap water and bottled water, tap water is plainly the more economical, and, in many cases, the healthier choice. Despite this assertion, tap water does not remain without its problems.
The concerns over the quality and safety of tap water that sparked the growth of the bottled water industry are still entirely present.
Tap water is nowhere near free from dangerous contaminants. The most recent and innovative solution to the problems of low water quality has come about in the age of water filters.
Water filters currently provide the best and healthiest solution to the problems of both bottled water and tap water.
Water filters remove more dangerous contaminants than any other purification method, and they are uniquely designed to work with municipally treated water. The water they produce is not subject to phthalate contamination, and they are able to remove cryptosporidium from drinking water, a feat that neither municipal water treatment plants nor bottled water companies have yet managed. Also, drinking filtered water is a much more economical practice than drinking bottled water. The pure water product of a water filter costs very little more than untreated tap water.
Furthermore, because water filters use no more energy than is already required to propel water through a home’s plumbing system, they circumvent several of the environmental problems of the bottled water industry. At this point in time, there is simply no better choice-for purity and economy-than filtered water.
Every Drop Counts
Given the supply and demand issues surrounding water, it is imperative that we make some conscious decisions regarding the preservation of this indispensable resource. In doing so, it is important to be aware of some basic realities.
Water is a precious resource in our environment. Growing populations and ongoing droughts are squeezing our water resources dry and the degradation of natural habitats. We have no choice but to pay more attention to how we are using water, and how we may be wasting it.
We must bridge the gap between our understanding of how important water is to our survival and what we can do to ensure that we have an adequate supply of clean water for years to come. Try to do one thing each day to save water. For more information about what you can do, please search online for the many simple ways you can take action and conserve water.