Water, as we all know, is very VERY crucial for survival. People can go up to a month without food, but only few days without water. Water contributes 60% of the weight of an average male, and 55% percent of the weight of an average female considering female has relatively greater percentage of body fat.
Ideally, men need to obtain at least 2.5 liters of water per day whereas women 2 liters per day. This can be achieved partly from beverages and partly from moisture-rich foods such as soups. Children should drink approximately half of this amount, depending on their age. One easy way to check our hydration status is thru our urine color that should be pale in color. Urine that is dark yellow and concentrated is an important sign of dehydration.
Although we should ideally drink at least eight glasses of water a day, most of us doesn’t. They even barely drink by having less than four glasses water daily. Unfortunately, thirst receptors are not a sensitive judge of how fluid-deficient you are, and you are already quite dehydrated by the time you feel a craving to drink.
The brain is particularly sensitive to changes in fluid balance. Dehydration is a common cause of tiredness, poor concentration, reduced alertness, reduced short-term memory, headache, and mood changes, with increasing agitation, impatience, and feelings of stress.
Dehydration also contributes to constipation, kidney stones, and , as it increases the thickness and stickiness of blood, can lead to abnormal blood clotting and even precipitate a heart attack or stroke. Therefore, it is important to drink fluids throughout the day rather than just when you are feeling thirsty.
Tea, Coffee, and Hydration
As caffeine has a mild diuretic effect, it is often claimed that caffeinated drinks, such as tea, have a negative effect on hydration. However, research does not support this.
A gold-standard study shows that there were no significant difference in hydration status whether participants drank four mugs of black tea (each containing 50mg caffeine) or drank boiled water at set intervals over one day. Even the urine volume and color also remained the same.
Another study shows that there were no significant differences across a wide range of haematological and urinary markers of hydration status between coffee and water drinkers. Their data suggest that coffee, when consumed in moderation provides similar hydrating qualities to water.
Tea and coffee drinkers? You’re safe.
Brewer, S. (2013). Nutrition. London: Oneworld Publications.
Killer, S. C., Blannin, A. K., & Jeukendrup, A. K. (2014). No Evidence of Dehydration with Moderate Daily Coffee Intake: A Counterbalanced Cross-Over Study in a Free-Living Population. PLoS One , 9.