Monday, April 22, 2013

Don't Forget to Drink Your Water

We all know that water is essential for life. About sixty percent of our body weight is made up of water. Every system in our body depends on water. It transports nutrients to body cells, flushes toxins out of organs, and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues. Water is the largest single component of the human body, including the brain. Lack of water will lead to dehydration, inhibiting the body to carry out its normal functions. It drains our energy and makes us tired. Humans cannot live without water and because the body cannot store water, we need to replace the fluids we lose everyday. 

How Much Water Do We Need Daily? 

We've heard the "8 glasses (1.9 L) a day" rule and it is a good rule to remember by. Depending on where you live (high versus low altitudes, the kind of profession you do (runners versus office workers), whether you are pregnant or lactating, your health status, each person needs different levels of fluids. Here is a guideline from the Institute of Medicine:

Adult men - 3.7 L
Adult women 2.7 L
Toddlers up to age 3 - 1.3 L
Children between age 4 and 8 - 1.7 L
Boys between age 9 and 18 - 2.4-3.3 L
Girls between age 9 and 18 - 2.1-2.3 L
Pregnant women - 3 L
Nursing women - 3.8 L

When and How to Drink Water?

Drink Filtered Water. Although tap water in Singapore is considered safe to drink, I don't drink directly from the tap as it contains many chemicals such as chloride, fluoride, sulphate, etc. (Chlorine in tap water has been linked to killing the good bacteria in our digestive tract that keeps allergies away). I buy Brita water filters to remove water impurities. Although it may not remove all impurities, I feel some filtration is better than no filtration. Boiling water kills bacteria but doesn't remove chemicals. If you want to be safe, you can boil filtered water, especially for little babies.

Drink water in between meals. Most of the time I drink water with my meals just because the water is right in front of me and it's convenient. But the truth is drinking too much water during meals dilutes our digestive juices, thus slowing down digestion and making the absorption of nutrients less effective. It is suggested that we drink water about 15 minutes before and 30 minutes after meals. This is something new for me, so I will have to work on this. But of course if you are thirsty during mealtimes, it is important to hydrate yourself. 

Drink water at room temperature. It is a good idea to consider drinking our water at room temperature as it is widely believed that cold water puts more strain in the body, especially the liver. I still drink cold water sometimes but I will try to limit it going forward. 

Store your water wisely. Glass or steel cups or bottles are best. If you buy water in plastic cups/bottles, consider not re-using it or leave them in a hot car/place as toxins may leach into the water.

I put a glass and a water jar in my room so I have easy access when I need to drink. It motivates me to drink more when I can easily reach for it and not wait until I'm thirsty because I'm lazy to walk out to the kitchen to get water. If you're already thirsty, it means your body is already dehydrated. So make water easily accessible especially with young children. Keep their water bottles close to them so we can offer them to drink as often as possible.

What are your thoughts on drinking cold or ice water? How do you make sure you're hydrated?

Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link.


  1. Hi Vicky,

    I also used to think, the more the better.
    You might want to look into "Fiber Menace" by Konstantin Monastyrsky.
    From the summary of the second chapter:
    -The recommendation to drink 8 glasses of water in addition to food intake is wrong, because it doesn't take into account the substantial water content of food and water produced by the body's own metabolism.
    -Overconsumption of water causes a broad range of other conditions and diseases related to depletion and deficiencies of essential minerals and microelements, and adds additional stress on cardiovascular, genitourinary and digestive organs.

    I couldn't believe my eyes when I read it, but even the WAPF endorses his book (, and the reaction from the scientific community has been nothing but positive.

    1. Hi Choon Yan,
      Thanks for sharing and for the book recommendation!