Sunday, April 13, 2008

How much water should I drink?

Here’s a new controversy that seems to be doing rounds and making all of us worried – how much water should we drink? Is drinking water harmful to our health?
Ask this to any elderly person and they will tell you – the more the better. You should drink water because it helps you flush out all the impurities in your body, it keeps you cool and it also supplies a lot of necessary ingredients to your body.
Ask a health-savvy teenager and you may get a completely different answer (drink only when you are thirsty and only as much as you need)!
Suffering from this dilemma, I started looking for the best solution. There were articles supporting both the viewpoints. So, at the end, I was slightly more confused than I was when I started searching for similar information. But this is what I could make out – like any other good thing, drinking water is good, but not too much.
But why are scientists and experts are fighting over whether to drink water or not? First let us consider the views of scientists who suggest water is good for health. Water comprises 60-70% of a human being’s body weight. We have water in our blood, brain, lungs and even muscles, and to keep these vital components of our body up and running it is very important that we have enough water. Every day we lose a lot of water through sweating, respiration and urination, and as a result we need to replenish our body water storage to stay healthy. In short, that is why we need to drink water. An interesting article on this can be found on the BBC site at
Intake of coffee, alcohol and other diuretics which dehydrate our body make it even more important that we drink loads of water to stay healthy and ensure our body machine runs fine. Lack of enough water can lead to chronic pains in joints and muscles, lower back pain, headaches, constipation and give a strong odour to your urine, along with a yellow or amber color.
If water is so important for human beings, why is there a controversy? A recent study report by Dr. Stanley Goldfarb, of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, published in Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, suggests that too much of water is harmful for your health. In fact, the scientist cites the example of a lady who drank too much water as part of a contest and died due to swelling of brain. Read about his study in this MSN report - and a Hindustan Times report -
But if you go through his study report in detail, he does not recommend you to stop drinking water. All he says is too much of it may be harmful and it may not be as beneficial as we thought. Considering the manner in which all aspects of our life and environment is getting polluted, little wonder that everything that we ate to keep ourselves healthy, does not have the same effect any more.
So how much water should an average individual drink? Experts suggest that it depends on your body weight, living conditions and food intake. Read this article ( and take this interesting quiz ( to find out how much water you should drink.
So, the moral of the story is – keep drinking water. But not just to prove a point or take part in a contest. Drink it because you need it.

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