It is established by scientific research that whenever the body (through its nervous system) send the signal of thirst through the brain to the throat, the body is really dehydrated and needs water. It follows that a consistent pattern of habitual drinking of water should be cultivated. The human body weight consists about 60-70 percent of water on one form or the other. Water intake on a regular basis is advantageous for stable body temperature, easy digestion, clearing digestive and circulatory tracts, moisturizing and lubricating the skin, and satisfying the psychological consciousness.
Definitely, the daily volume of water to be consumed is not generic but is determined by factors including age, gender, weather, and the rate of metabolism or the degree of activity as discussed later. Most of the speculations, including mine, reflect the givers’ experience, bias and/or opinion. To avoid them, you can take simple hydration test using your urine, careful adjustment to the findings and repeating the cycle.
For example, given a particular volume of water intake, an acidic and unclear urine indicates the need to increase the volume. When the urine comes washy and colorless, one may resort to either lift the burden of ultrafiltration from the kidney through sweat-inducing exercises or reduce the amount of water intake. The former is better because it revitalizes the skin and the increase in the heart rate improves the eyesight and the alertness of other sensory nerves.
The harmattan season is marked by air drought and dryness. A hydration test, during this period, using urine usually gives an unclear liquid with a highly acidic concentration. Athletes and others who are engaged in rigorous physical and mental exercise loose water in form of sweat and increased metabolism. The brain consumes about 20% of the water we drink.
Gender and age are also determining factors for water intake. The strenuous daily routine of men above the stage of adolescence often requires between 10-13 cups daily. Women and children need lesser between 5-9 cups. Pregnant and breastfeeding women are advised to drink as much as 10 cups and 13 cups daily at least. For the pregnant ones, this is important to provide the water requirement for the growing fetus in the womb. Also, breast milk is at the best, in hygiene and nutrition, when the mother is properly hydrated.
Certain food, when consumed requires more water for digestion, e.g. wheat flour bread, beans, powdered foods, etc. The body’s water requirement, therefore, may not always be fulfilled through drinking water. Other fluids, e.g. Yoghurt, juice, soda, cream, broth, tea, etc. are also sources of water to the body. Care should be taken when selecting fluids especially for folks who are watching their weight or obese individuals who are desperate at losing weight – sugary and calorie beverages are not suitable options for such.
The urine test remains the best option and is even being advised in hospitals by medical practitioners.