In hot weather, it is especially important to ensure that the body is not dehydrated. What water to choose to better quench your thirst? Let’s see how experts answer these and other questions.
In recent weeks, Europeans have been suffering from unbearable heat. When the temperature exceeds 30 degrees, care must be taken to ensure that the body receives water in sufficient quantities. There is a common belief that an adult should drink two liters of water a day, but experts disagree. Fluid requirements vary by age, job type, climate zone, and diet.
Drinking enough water is key. Without moisture, the body cannot function normally. Thanks to it, the body regulates heat. The fact that we can live only three days without it can testify to how important water is to us. Without food – 30.
A person loses about 2.5 liters of water daily. Loss of fluid must be compensated. Without it, the kidneys and the cardiovascular system stop working. In addition, problems with concentration begin, and the person feels tired. Headaches and constipation are just the first signs of dehydration. “There is no fluid in the body, so the reaction to its absence is almost instantaneous,” emphasizes Professor Hans Hauner from the Technical University of Munich.
According to Hans Hauner, you need to drink an average of 30-40 milliliters of water per kilogram of body weight. “Then a person weighing 70 kilograms should drink about 2-2.5 liters of water,” he adds. However, we are talking not only about the water we drink, but also about the water we eat. Since the body converts carbohydrates and fat into energy and produces about 300 milliliters of extra water, you need to drink about 1.5 liters of water throughout the day.
In hot weather, and also after physical activity or during illness (especially with diarrhea and fever), you should drink more.
“When we sweat, the body loses fluid faster. Then we feel thirsty,” the expert emphasizes and adds that in summer the body uses water to maintain a stable body temperature.
What water is better?
The best choice is cool still water. Tap water usually contains a fair amount of minerals and is just as good as bottled water.
Carbonated or still water? Both types are suitable, but they have different effects on the body. Carbonic acid increases the blood supply to the oral mucosa and promotes the secretion of saliva. Then a large amount of air enters the stomach and stimulates digestion. Thus, people with an irritated stomach should avoid carbonated water. Unsweetened herbal or fruit teas can be an alternative.
How much water to drink while exercising?
When you exercise, you sweat and lose water. According to researchers from the German Sports University in Cologne, athletes should drink 0.3 to 0.5 liters of fluid 15 to 30 minutes before training. In turn, during exercise, you need to take small sips every quarter of an hour (recommended 0.5-1 liter per hour). And after class – replenish the supply of minerals and carbohydrates.
Should you drink when you don’t feel thirsty?
“If you’re young and healthy, don’t drink when you’re not thirsty.” At least according to researchers at the Monash University Biomedical Institute in Australia. Their series of experiments showed that the body thus protects itself from too much fluid.
Therefore, healthy people should drink only when they feel like it. However, there are exceptions. The feeling of thirst is suppressed during times of stress or during times of intense concentration (for example, at work). In addition, diseases such as diabetes can “trick” the body. Research shows that older people often drink too little. Why? In old age, the area of the brain responsible for thirst may work less well.
The elderly should pay special attention to drinking enough fluids in hot weather. It doesn’t have to be water, but, for example, mint or fruit tea, says Hans Hauner.
What is water poisoning?
Not only dehydration is dangerous for health, but also drinking too much water, which leads to metabolic and mineral imbalance. The last stage of this condition is water poisoning (hyponatremia), when the blood thins to such an extent that sodium and potassium are flushed out of the body.
Water poisoning can cause arrhythmias, damage the kidneys, or even contribute to cerebral edema (due to water retention in the tissues).
This phenomenon is well known in marathons. In 2015, a 30-year-old triathlete died due to hyponatremia during the Ironman competition in Frankfurt.
If you drink too much water, you need to eat foods rich in salts and minerals (for example, salted pretzels).
Food rich in water
Some foods contain a lot of water. Why are we mentioning this? Because when we consume them, we need to drink less.
Cucumbers are the record holder among vegetables (95%). Right behind it are radishes, zucchini, celery (90% each). Among the fruits, the leaders are melons, strawberries and rhubarb, as well as apples.
Does coffee make you dehydrated?
Unlike alcohol, coffee “does not draw water” from the body. Representatives of the Association of German Therapists even argue that caffeinated drinks can be attributed to the daily portion of liquid.
In recent years, several studies have shown that after drinking coffee, the water balance is only minimally different from that after drinking mineral water, says Johannes Mann. He also added that experiments show that people who drink coffee excrete about 84% of the liquids taken in urine during the day. For those who only drink water, the figure was 81%. Thus the difference is minimal.
“However, you should not drink coffee or tea to quench your thirst, because a large amount of caffeine can increase blood pressure,” the expert adds.