How Much Water Is Enough?
As a thumb rule, as per WHO, 2 litres of water for a 60-kilo person is the required quantity. Most people I know don’t drink enough. But there are a few out there, who are putting their lives at risk by drinking too much
Photo Credit : Ritesh Sharma
A recent report in a leading newspaper sensationally saying, “Drinking too much water can be risky” misled many who drink less and need a required quantity as per their body weight and lifestyle. So how do you ascertain if you’re drinking enough, too much or too little? A few of these pointers below will give you the right answers.
• Your body is 60 per cent water: This means that water is required for essential body functions like making blood, releasing toxins, transporting vitamins and minerals and flushing waste out. If any of these functions are affected, it means you’re drinking less.
• Your urine is yellow: This is a sure shot sign that you’re not getting enough water (unless you’re taking medicines or B-vitamin pills).
• You’re constipated: Another sign of wastes not coming out, means, drink up.
• You’re irritable or in pain: Unexplained anger and pain (especially headaches) can mean less water. The brain cells get dehydrated faster, and hence lead to behavior change and headaches.
As a thumb rule, as per WHO, 2 litres of water for a 60-kilo person is the required quantity. Most people I know don’t drink enough. But there are a few out there, who are putting their lives at risk by drinking too much. Too much is above 4 litres (unless you’re working out profusely), and can lead to:
Dilution of salts: When sodium levels in the body dip, this causes fatigue, lethargy, mental confusion and edema.
Kidney damage: People with kidney issues or edema should regulate water intake as it can lead to complications.
Brain swelling: Too much water in the body can still be absorbed or expelled, but the brain cells cannot absorb the same, leading to seizures, coma or even death. Last year, a 4-year-old girl died because of brain swelling, only because her parents forced her to finish a 2-litre cold drink bottle to teach her a lesson never to get greedy about cold drinks. Sad, but true.
So make sure you drink up, but just enough and not too little or too much. Like everything in life, balance and moderation are the key to a healthy life.
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I’m a healthy working executive with no health issues at all. However, in my tests, my ESR is always out of range. My doctor dismisses it saying it can be high due to any reason, but doesn’t give me an answer as to why. I want it to be back in range, how can I do so?
— Abhay Kumar, 41, Bangalore
First of all, let me congratulate on being healthy considering your age and your industry. A lot of senior professionals in your industry have serious lifestyle issues due to food and crazy hours. ESR or erythrocyte sedimentation rate, also called a sedimentation rate or Westergren ESR, is the rate at which red blood cells sediment in a period of one hour. It is a common hematology test, and is a non-specific measure of inflammation. Your doctor is right in his own way, as he doesn’t know. But ESR is usually a predictor of inflammatory issues like an infection or an inflammatory disease (80%+ diseases are inflammatory). So keeping an eye on your ESR is the best way to avoid getting one. To get your ESR down, start a diet of 50% raw foods: raw nuts, seeds (a handful each every mid morning and evening), combined with fruits with the nuts – the best options are apple, papaya, pomegranate, pineapple and berries. Include raw salads with extra virgin olive oil with your lunch or dinner, exclude inflammatory foods like white flour, sugar, cold drinks and replace these with good carbohydrates like oats, quinoa, millets. Drink fresh cold pressed juices, coconut water and have green tea and red wine in moderation – both are anti-inflammatory. Sleeping for 7-8 hours every night also reduces inflammation levels so do ensure you do that.