Most of our body is water. It represents from 45 to 75% of our weight, considering the average of 60% for adults. Before knowing how many liters of water we should drink a day, however, we need to understand its function in our body.
In our body, water occupies space inside and outside cells – 65% of the total is located intracellularly and the other 35% between cells and in body fluids, including blood. The body produces between 250 and 350 ml of water daily through metabolism, but this is very little compared to the amount needed. Therefore, drinking water is essential for health. This ingestion can be done by drinking water and other liquids or eating, since our bodies also absorb the water that is present in food.
Water plays a fundamental role in the transport of nutrients and helps to eliminate what will not be used by the body. It is also very important to regulate your body temperature. It is also the main component of body fluids such as saliva, essential for digestion, synovial fluid, which is inside the joints, and tears, which lubricate the eyes.
It is important to keep in mind that the amount of water ingested cannot be less than that eliminated by sweating, urine, faeces and breathing. But then how many liters of water should we drink a day? The answer will mainly depend on your age, and sex can also play a role.
Know how many liters of water we should drink per day, in different age groups:
Below, you will see the total amount of water we need to consume according to age group, also considering what is present in food.
0 to 6 months
From 0 to 6 months, the baby’s food must be exclusively breast milk, which is 88% water. It already contains the amount of water needed for the child’s development: 0.7 liters per day.
Giving water to the child at this stage can cause health problems such as malnutrition, because the liquid will occupy space in the baby’s stomach, which should be exclusive to breast milk, and diarrhea, if the water is not suitable for consumption.
Regarding children who take formula instead of breast milk, pediatricians often have different opinions. Some believe that the water used to prepare the formula is already enough, while the Brazilian Society of Pediatrics advises that babies who drink artificial milk consume 0.7 liters of water daily.
7 to 12 months
It is at this stage, when other foods are introduced, that it becomes necessary to offer water to the child. She needs to drink 0.8 liter of water a day, and 0.6 liter must come from beverages, including water.
The ideal is to offer a few sips after meals, especially if the child has eaten something salty. In this age group, there is also the concern that water ends up taking the place of food in the stomach, so it is important not to overdo it.
1 to 3 years
When the child completes the first year of life, it is already possible to release the consumption of water. During this period, it is necessary to drink 1.3 liters of water per day. It is important to offer more of the drink on hot, dry days, in order to avoid dehydration, and if there is fever, vomiting or diarrhea. In the last two cases, the ideal is to observe the amount of liquid lost and compensate with water or homemade serum.
Avoid giving water to the child during meals, as this can cause stomach distension. Prefer to offer the drink before eating time or half an hour later.
4 to 8 years
In this age group, the child needs to drink 1.7 liters of water a day, including food and drinks. However, as we have already seen, knowing how many liters of water we should drink per day will depend on our health status, our temperature and the amount of water we lose in perspiration. Therefore, in case of illnesses that cause diarrhea and vomiting, very hot days and very active children, you should drink more water.
9 to 13 years old
From nine years of age onwards, the amount of water we should drink per day begins to vary according to gender. Up to 13 years of age, boys should drink 2.4 liters of water daily, while 2.1 liters are enough for girls.
14 to 18 years old
From 14 to 18 years of age, there is an increase in the amount of water that should be ingested per day – especially for males. At this stage, boys should drink 3.3 liters of water and girls 2.3 liters.
19 to 70 years old
From the age of 19, the amount of water we should drink per day will hardly change until the end of life, with changes only during pregnancy and breastfeeding , for women, and in case of illness, temperature and physical activities for both the sexes. The elderly also need extra care with hydration.
In this age group, the daily water intake needed by men is 3.7 liters, while for women it is 2.7 liters. The difference is because women, in general, have less body mass, in addition to a lower proportion of water in the body.
There are other cases in which it is necessary to pay attention to how many liters of water we should drink per day. During pregnancy , pregnant women should drink 3 liters of water a day. In the breastfeeding period, 3.8 liters are needed, as, as we have already mentioned, 88% of the composition of breast milk is water.
When the water levels in our body are not enough to replace the fluids we use or eliminate, we feel thirsty. Therefore, it is important to drink water as soon as we feel the need, since our body lets us know when it needs it for its activities.
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