We cannot live without water, but is it good to drink without thirst? The experts clarify it for us
It is the only drink that the Harvard dish recommends and without it, we could not survive. Losing as little as 2% of water can lead to dehydration that affects some of our mental capacities: concentration, decision-making, anticipation, reaction time, and precision.
You have to drink water for the proper functioning of your body. This is what the water we drink does:
-Helps transport nutrients such as salts, glycogen, and oxygen
-Helps eliminate harmful substances from the muscles, such as lactic acid
-Keeps our joints flexible and lubricated
-Regulates our body temperature through sweating
-Participates in the proper functioning of the digestive tract, among other things.
HOW MUCH WATER TO DRINK
From the doctors’ consultations, they recommend that we drink two liters of water. Some say three.
To be precise, it is not the expert recommendation to drink two liters of water, but to consume two liters of liquid. Tea, juice, foods rich in water, infusions, soups, etc. would add up to the total. All to be well hydrated, especially when it is hot or we exercise. Now, drink to drink, either. And we ask ourselves: should we drink so much, even if we are not thirsty? Can any amount be excessive? It seems not.
Normally, our body will be able to eliminate the excess water that is consumed, as long as there is no kidney or heart problem and it is not an excessively high amount.
“When it is hot or we exercise, it is important to drink because we must always be in the right balance between the liquid we ingest and the liquid we lose.
Dr. Ana Bellón, Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery from the Complutense University of Madrid, specialized in Family and Community Medicine, postgraduate in nutrition, dietetics and diet therapy at the University of Navarra, helps us define that daily recommended liquid. What to drink, how much to drink, and how to drink.
-The daily amount of liquid recommended by the European Food Safety Agency (AESAN) is between two and three liters a day.
-Water is not fattening, colorless, tasteless, and caloric.
-Water has several organic functions (it participates in the physiological processes of digestion, absorption, and elimination of wastes) but this daily work does not involve storage. It is eliminated through sweat, urine, and other wastes.
-It is good to drink water as soon as you get up because it helps to relieve constipation. On the other hand, it is not recommended to drink a lot before going to sleep, so as not to get up several times to the bathroom, especially for older people.
-Before meals, fill up. During them, the same.
-There is no maximum tolerable intake, it depends on each person and their circumstances: weight, height, and activity, above all. Athletes need much more. But beware of going over four or five liters! We can impair kidney function. If we greatly exceed that figure, we could enter a psychological disorder called potomania.
-Babies, athletes, and the elderly are exempt from the general rule regarding liquids. Children, because do not usually identify at first the sensation of thirst with the need for water and the adult, should be in charge of monitoring the intake. Athletes, for the above mentioned and the elderly, because, after 60, the feeling of thirst decreases, although not the obligation to stay hydrated.
-The liquid is also obtained through food, especially fruits and vegetables. Watermelon and pear are fruits with a lot of water and celery are one of the most hydrating vegetables.
-The water present in the body accounts for between 55% and 60% of body weight. When we are born, the proportion is 75% and in adulthood, it is closer to 60%. Since the body does not store this water, its losses must be replaced.
-Thirst can occur with only a 2% loss of body fluid weight. It stops very quickly, almost immediately, when drinking. When it is in the stomach, even earlier, on the tongue, it sends a rehydration signal to the brain, anticipating its dilution in the blood.
-The total water ingested as such represents 28%, the same amount comes from food and 44% from other drinks. Ana Bellón recommends avoiding sugary soft drinks, due to their caloric intake and their contribution to obesity data, especially in children. Isotonic drinks, with caution, for the same reason, and also because they are stimulating.
“Four factors modify the need for fluids: The older, the more you should drink. The temperature, the higher the thermometers rise, the more liquid intake is required. Renal function, if it is altered, special care must be taken with the amount to drink. And finally, the consumption of certain drugs that modify and increase the need for fluid.
Always carry a bottle of water with you. To stop plastic contamination, make it metal or glass and refillable.