How much water is good for your health

Water poisoning: More than three liters a day can be harmful

You can never drink enough about it: if you drink more fluids than you excrete, the fluids remain in the circulation and thin the blood. This lowers the salt concentration in the blood. If a certain value is not reached, there is a risk of muscle weakness, disorientation or epilepic seizures. In the worst case, it can lead to heart failure or brain edema.

Humans need water just like air to breathe. And because water supposedly makes you healthy, slim, fit and beautiful, many people try to drink as much of it as possible. However, there are also limits to fluid intake. Those who drink too much do not feel better, but in some circumstances even worse. There is a risk of water poisoning. Sometimes we drink more than is good, especially on hot days.

Water poisoning from too much fluids

Normally, an adult's organism can cope with up to ten liters of water in a day. Nevertheless, experts advise not to consume more than three liters a day. Because so-called water poisoning (hyperhydration) can also occur with smaller amounts - even if you only drink too much water once. The result: the body runs on the back burner to compensate for the loss of salt. This primarily affects the functions of the heart, kidneys, brain and lungs.

Do not drink too much while exercising

People with heart, kidney and liver problems are therefore among the people who should watch the amount they drink. The organs are so weakened by the disease that they no longer function properly with certain amounts of water.

Those who drink a lot and eat little are also at risk - for example when dieting. Endurance athletes should also be careful not to drink too much. Inexperienced runners in particular are often afraid of dehydration while jogging and therefore tend to "overdrink" (exercise-associated hyponatremia): life-threatening circulatory disorders can result.

Our tip
Your body weight can give you a guideline for how much water you need. Before and after your workout, step naked on the scales. The difference usually indicates your fluid loss. If you weigh one kilogram less, experts recommend drinking around 500 grams of water.

To balance your blood salt and potassium levels, you can drink isotonic sports drinks or eat a pretzel stick, medical professionals advise.

1.5 liters of water as a guide

But you shouldn't drink too little either. Because in order to function, the body needs a minimum amount of water. The German Nutrition Society (DGE) recommends that an adult should consume one and a half liters throughout the day. So the water balance stays in balance. But this is only a guideline. Men need more fluids than women because they sweat more. Eating habits also play a role in the correct amount of drink.

Diet also plays an important role. For example, if you eat a lot of fruit and vegetables, you have to drink less than someone who mainly eats bread and meat. On the other hand, those who mainly eat fiber such as grains, legumes and nuts as well as chocolate or salty or fatty foods should drink more.

Drinking in advance does not work

However, there are situations when you should drink up to three liters of water a day - exercise is one of them. Because depending on the intensity of the load, the body sweats out one to two liters of fluid. Drinking during exercise is therefore important.

Even in the heat or the flu, you sweat more and you have to make sure to drink enough. Patients with urinary stones should also consume more than the recommended one and a half liters of water, say medical professionals. Because this can prevent the painful stones from forming. Even with diarrhea or vomiting, the fluid loss must be compensated for.

By the way: Drinking in stock does not work for humans. Because unlike camels, we cannot store water.

Symptoms of water poisoning

The first symptoms of overhydration are, for example:

  • malaise
  • a headache
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • Vomit.

In addition, it can happen that you have to urinate little despite high fluid intake. The body tries to maintain the level of salt in the body by holding back the urine.

Severe water poisoning can lead to shortness of breath, "stumbling" heart and seizures.

If these symptoms occur, you should consult a doctor or drive to the hospital.

Overhydration in babies

Some mothers believe they can dilute their breast milk with water to provide more breast milk for their child. Others like to add water to baby food or prepare it with more liquid than stated. However, this is a mistake as it can cause your baby to become water poisoned. By diluting the child's sodium and electrolyte balance, the kidneys are not yet fully developed and cannot balance the electrolyte balance. The consequences: The brain can swell, edema can form - also in the brain - or water can collect in the lungs. Anything can lead to death.

If your baby is apathetic and lethargic, his body is puffy and puffy, and his body temperature drops, it may be water poisoning.

Experts warn that babies under six months of age should not be given extra water.

It is best to write down in a book how much fluids your baby has consumed. There are also apps you can use to help with documentation. Talk to your doctor about when you can offer your baby additional fluids in the form of water and unsweetened teas, for example on particularly hot days.

Important NOTE: The information is in no way a substitute for professional advice or treatment by trained and recognized doctors. The contents of t-online cannot and must not be used to independently make diagnoses or start treatments.

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