Are you drinking too much water?

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For many years, we have heard that each person should be drinking 8 glasses of water a day. It has become common understanding that 8 glasses should be your daily goal, although recent research is pointing to the fact that we may not actually need a full 8 glasses each day.  So, how do you know how much water you should be consuming?

Listen To Your Body

Instead of blindly following health and nutritional recommendations, a better approach is to listen to your own body in order to see how much water you should be drinking.  Consider the fact that your stomach is about the size of your fist when it is not expanded, and the recommendation is to drink 2 liters of water a day.  Your stomach can expand, but it doesn’t necessarily make sense to overfill it with water.

Don’t drink water just because you are supposed to be drinking it to be “healthy.”  A better approach is to listen to the cues within your body and simply drink when you are thirsty.  You can also measure your hydration levels based on the output of your urine.  If you see that the urine has a dark yellow color, then it might be an indication that you should increase your water intake.  You aren’t necessarily aiming for clear urine, because that could be an indication of too much water.  It is better to aim for a middle tone yellow instead of clear or dark yellow.

Consider the Types of Foods that You are Eating

Some types of food have a much higher water content compared with others.  For example, if you are eating dried foods, then you aren’t getting much water content from your food.  On the other hand, fruits and vegetables have a high amount of water content, which means that you might be able to reduce your water consumption if you are eating a lot of fresh foods.

Also consider the other types of drinks that you are enjoying throughout the day.  For example, even if you are drinking a cup of coffee in the morning, it isn’t “water” but it still has water content that can help to hydrate your body.

Electrolyte Balancing

One problem with people who drink too much water is the fact that they can throw off the electrolyte balance within their body.  Certain minerals need to be present for your body to function, and the body is always working to create the right balance of sodium and phosphorous.  If you drink too much water, it throws off the electrolyte balance, which could lead to health problems.  Too much water could actually kill you, because your body is missing the important balance of minerals that are needed.

Digestive Impacts of Water

In order for the digestive system to work correctly, you need to have water to help move waste products out of the body.  But, too much water can result in poor digestion, because the water dilutes the digestive juices in your stomach.  In fact, it is probably a good idea to stop drinking water at least 30 minutes before meal time, so that the water can start to move out of your stomach and allow good digestion of your food.

As your digestion suffers, it can have a negative impact on your metabolism.  Some people drink more water because they want to lose weight, and they are actually slowing their weight loss efforts since the water decreases their metabolic functions.  Too much water means that your cells will have a harder time holding onto the sugar and salts that are needed for optimal health, which can cause your body to begin conserving energy instead of burning the energy.

Symptoms of Water Intoxication

Most people with easy access to a clean water source don’t have a problem with dehydration, but there are many people who might be suffering from being overly-hydrated.  Here are a few symptoms to watch for:

  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Mental clarity problems and brain fog
  • Lower body temperature or cold hands and feet
  • Urinating too frequently or during the middle of the night
  • Twitching or muscle spasms
  • Headaches

All that being said, let’s not forget that drinking water is very important… especially if you’re active and sweat a lot.