Ever wonder why many Asians are seen carrying a bottle of water with them when they outside? While I do not have the exact answer to the question, it is believed that Asians tend to keep a bottle of water handy in case they need a quick sip because of hot Asian climates, and because Asian people do not normally drink straight from the tap water.
During early 1970s, the first food pyramid was introduced to promote healthy living through balanced diets and has been revised couple of times since then. While many people are practicing healthy eat by adhering to the food pyramid guidance, one thing that people tend to overlook is the amount of daily water consumption.
Admittedly, I tend to forget to drink water, sometimes for a good couple of hours, when I am occupied with tasks. And normally, it is until when my throat is screaming for water from dehydration that I remember that I need to replenish my body with water.
It is estimated that around 20-30% of our daily water intake comes from the food we consumed
People often wonder whether they should be drinking a certain amount of water per day or it is okay to drink water only when they feel thirsty. A quick search on the Internet reveals that the recommended daily water intake, while differs between countries, is around six to eight glasses of water, or 2 litres of water.
For UK climates, it is suggested that around 1.2 litres of water shall be sufficient to keep us hydrated, though the amount might again differ slightly for everyone according to gender, physical activity level, and fitness of the individual.
Before you start taking out your glass and gulp down eight glasses of water, it is important to bear in mind that drinking plain water is not the only way to keep your body hydrated (and reach the suggested daily water intake).
Milk is more effective than water at keeping your body hydrated
In fact, it is estimated that around 20-30% of our daily water intake comes from the food we consumed. If you think about it, everyday we consume a variety of foods and beverages such as milk, coffee, tea, juice, smoothies, soft drinks, lager, fruits, soups… All these water-containing foods and beverages are indirectly contributing to our daily water intake. Besides, a study previously carried out by Professor Maughan and his team has revealed that milk, be it full-fat or skimmed, are in fact more effective than water at keeping our body hydrated.
Consumption of huge amount of water at one go will trigger your body into a homeostatic reflex to get rid of the excess liquid in the form of urine. However, people with existing health problem(s) such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease or weaken kidney function might have difficulty balancing the fluid levels in the body.
Water intoxication is rare, but it’s potentially fatal.
This will result in an increase in blood volume and subsequently hypertension. Besides, excessive water consumption (or over-hydration) might lead to water intoxication or water poisoning. This is because the extreme amount of liquid intake causes hyponatremia (a condition whereby the level of salt in the blood is abnormally low). While water intoxication is rare, it is potentially a fatal condition.
So, how can we tell if we are drinking enough amount of water? Supposedly, if we consume enough water, we will rarely feel thirsty. Besides, colourless or pale-yellow colour urine without a strong smell can also be a good indicator of adequate water intake (except if you eat foods or medications that will make your urine change colour or smell differently).
Starting now, let us try to live a healthier living, not just through healthy diet and physical exercise, but also through drinking adequate amount of water. Cheers!