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How Much Water Should You Drink?

Adequate hydration is important to all - especially when exercising. But can we drink too much in our efforts to avoid dehydration.

Can You Drink Too Much Water?

By WLR's Food Information Executive, Laurence Beeken

In the past few years studies have shown that many of us don't drink enough water for good health. Along with general healthy eating recommendations, most health promoters have urged us all to drink more water, particularly whilst exercising. The message has been strong - avoid dehydration.

However, there is a different story emerging, especially amongst people who exercise. According to researchers almost as many exercisers are putting their health at risk by over-consuming water as drinking too little.

Drinking water at every opportunity can cause serious problems, such as hyponatraemia or water intoxication. As the water content of the blood increases, the salt content is diluted. Consequently the amount of salt available to body tissues decreases, which can lead to problems with brain, heart and muscle function.

Initial symptoms of over-hydration include dizziness, nausea, apathy and confusion. However these symptoms are also associated with dehydration - so it's important to be aware of how much you are drinking.

Is there cause for alarm? The British Dietetic Association guidelines state that an average adult should consume 2.5 litres of water per day. This intake needs to be increased during periods of hot weather or during and after periods of physical activity.

You can get your daily water requirements from sources other than pure water - your cup of tea counts! Water is the main ingredient of all drinks – carbonated drinks and still drinks, fruit juices and fruit and vegetables all have a high water content.

A clear message of Do It, but Don’t Overdo It!!

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