Did you know that your body can survive as many as 40 days without food? It’s not something that any sane person would want to attempt, but it’s nice to know that it can be done.
But without water, your chances of survival hit zero at about a week, with death becoming a possibility within just a few days. Dehydration is far more lethal because unlike the energy your body stores in fat, water isn’t kept in reserve and released when needed.
Your body needs water. Lots of it. Being mindful of your hydration level throughout the day is something you’ll thank yourself for later.
“Hydration is a vital part of our survival because every cell, tissue and organ in our bodies require water to function correctly,” said Eric Reardon, a registered dietitian with St. Elizabeth Healthcare.
When you’re at work, it’s probably not something that you think about very often. But if you’re not conscious of your water intake, you might start noticing your job performance suffer. Mild dehydration can cause discomfort, such as headaches, fatigue, dizziness and can even negatively affect our mood, Reardon said.
“The discomfort of headaches and distraction of dizziness is enough to keep us from focusing and being on our best mental game,” Reardon added.
Dehydration can also have an effect on your memory, as well as put a strain on your kidneys, heart and even raise your blood sugar levels. That’s why Reardon recommends keeping a water bottle on your desk or near your work area.
Drinking plenty of water isn’t just a good way to avoid the side-effects of dehydration.
The rewards for being mindful of water intake are many, and may include:
- Lubricating joints and easing pain caused by arthritis;
- Preventing or easing kidney disease by lowering urine toxicity;
- Improved cardiovascular health by increasing blood volume, which in turn makes physical activity less difficult;
- Reduced hunger pangs, which can in turn lead to weight loss; and
- Softer skin, which can help prevent sores and infections. “This is especially important for diabetics who need to be very attentive to their foot care,” Reardon said.
As for how much is the right amount to drink? It varies. But you’ll likely need more if your habits include regular caffeine intake, as its diuretic effects can cause the body to lose more water than it’s consuming. Stick with plain water, decaffeinated coffee or tea, or use low-calorie water flavorings to add variety to the mix.
“Drinking between 64 and 90 ounces per day is a good range to aim for, but you should be drinking enough so that you are rarely thirsty and your urine is colorless or light yellow,” Reardon said.