Listen to the thirst: About a liter and a half of water a day is healthy
When it comes to drinking, opinions differ. While many people constantly sip a water bottle, others only drink a glass of water two to three times a day. Experts recommend low-energy unsweetened drinks to keep the fluid balance in balance.
How much water does the human body need?
Through transpiration and metabolic processes, people excrete about 2.5 liters of water every day, which must be balanced out again by eating liquid and drinking. An adult should drink about 1.5 liters a day. The remaining liquid is taken up with the food.
The fluid house plays an important role in the human body. Not least because the body consists of about 60 percent water, the brain even 80 percent. "Water is used in the body as a means of dissolving, transporting and eliminating," explains Susann-Cathérine Ruprecht, spokeswoman for the German Institute for Nutritional Research (DIfE) in Potsdam. If people drink too little, the fluid balance becomes unbalanced and certain processes occur. processes such as the supply of sodium are disrupted. "Above three percent loss of fluid, physical and mental performance is impaired," reports Ruprecht. Symptoms such as dry mouth and viscous saliva, loss of appetite, constipation, fatigue and exhaustion can occur. Confusion and mental deficits can also result.
Those who drink too little also excrete less urine than usual. In addition, this is colored darker. A healthy person should excrete about half a liter of urine a day. To determine whether the body is supplied with sufficient fluid, a skin fold on the arm can be pulled up slightly. If it stops briefly after releasing it, this is an indication of a lack of fluid. If there was an adequate supply of fluids, it would disappear immediately.
Thirst Feeling Should Decide About Drinking Behavior "When the body has lost half a percent of water, we feel thirsty," says Ruprecht. The thirst feeling should not be ignored but in any case quenched. A glass of water is often sufficient. Antje Gahl from the German Society for Nutrition (DGE) in Bonn points out that the most important thing is that "most drinks are low in energy". Accordingly, they should contain little or no sugar. Mineral water is particularly suitable, but experts also recommend unsweetened teas and diluted fruit juices. Contrary to rumors to the contrary, drinking caffeinated coffee and tea is not unhealthy for healthy people as long as the caffeine is well tolerated. Neither coffee nor tea remove water from the body.
Sugared lemonades are less suitable than thirst quenchers because they are very high in calories. The same applies to fruit juices, which contain not only plenty of vitamins but also calories. Mixed with water, fruit juices are suitable as spritzers in moderation to quench your thirst. Restraint is advised when it comes to milk, because a glass of milk corresponds to a small meal. Alcoholic beverages are also unsuitable for quenching thirst. "A maximum of half a liter of beer for a male adult is just about acceptable," advises Gahl. About half of the amount applies to women.
Drink evenly throughout the day The nutritionist recommends drinking evenly throughout the day. If you drink a lot at once, you cannot create a fluid depot in your body because it excretes the amount that you cannot consume.
If you take a long break from drinking or drink very little liquid, you cannot immediately compensate for the lack of liquid with a large amount of water. "You cannot compensate for a large loss of liquid in the short term," explains Ruprecht. Until the body's fluid balance is back in balance It takes 24 hours for the human intestine to absorb about 500 to 800 milliliters of water an hour, and if more fluid is added, it is simply excreted, so a glass of water per hour is the optimal amount of fluid.
Nevertheless, experts advise against too strict drinking rules. "Drinking is such an essential mechanism, you don't need any rules for it," says Uwe Knop, author of the book "Hunger & Lust". In his opinion, a healthy person "doesn't need a drinking alarm clock or the like, you can just drink by feeling".
Thirst disappears with age: the need for fluids remains approximately the same
"The feeling of thirst often subsides in old age," reports Gahl. "But the need is actually there." A lack of fluids is particularly dangerous for older people as well as for infants and young children. If in doubt, medical advice should be sought. People who are on a diet should also make sure they are hydrated properly. If the food is reduced, the body also lacks the water it contains.
Those who exercise a lot have an increased need for fluids. Nevertheless, the thirst feeling is often ignored, especially during physical exertion. "The fact that people often drink too little in sports situations is a well-known problem," confirms Professor Daniel König from the Institute for Sports and Sports Sciences at the University of Freiburg. He also considers strict drinking control to be unnecessary for athletes. "The recommendation that athletes should constantly watching the color of your urine is an exaggeration. "
From a duration of one hour, physical exercise should be taken to ensure an adequate drinking amount, advises the sports doctor. When jogging for 20 minutes, there is still no danger of dehydration in healthy people.
No one takes a health risk if they drink too much. The experts agree on this. "The body can process ten liters a day without any problems," explains Gahl. Very rare deaths due to over-watering are only known to König from extreme sports events: "The body then loses too much sodium, among other things, by drinking."
Encourage children to drink water
Children often forget to grab a glass of water when playing or at school. Children have a particularly high need for fluids. Because the younger a person is, the higher their water content in the body. The Children's Health Foundation therefore recommends fixed drinking rituals that can help to provide the children with sufficient and healthy fluids. "Thanks to fixed rituals, neither the children nor the parents forget to drink enough," explains social worker Gritli Bertram from Hanover. "A glass of water right after getting up could be such a ritual, for example."
While children were previously prohibited from drinking during meals in order to counteract an early feeling of fullness, it is now common to give a glass of water to eat. “A glass of apple spritzer at every meal is generally well received by children. The parents often don't even have to encourage the children to drink, ”reports the social worker. (ag)
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