It’s simply a fact of life that big regrets usually begin as little ones. You know, that crush you never called, that trip you didn’t take, that job you wish you’d thrown your hat in the ring for. But for far too many people, it’s a much more subtle regret that may actually come back to haunt you, as forgetting to do it could potentially cause serious harm to your body over time. According to medical experts and dietitians, chances are high your daily water intake is simply not cutting it.
Research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 43 percent of adults drink less than four cups of water per day, while 36 percent drink just one to three cups, and 7 percent drink absolutely none. Though exact recommendations differ by body type, age, and activity levels, trusted authorities such as the U.K’.s National Health Service (NHS) advise that six to eight glasses of water per day (or 2 liters for women and 2.5 for men) is a good amount to be aiming for.
This problem is entirely global and not necessarily related to poverty or lack of access to clean drinking water, according to research by the company WaterLogic.
Why does this matter? Well, because your body is far more dependent on fluid than you may realize. As WaterLogic reports, just a 1 percent drop in total body water content can negatively affect both your cognitive ability and your mood. And with a 2 percent loss, you become actively aware of being thirsty at which point dehydration is setting in—resulting in issues that range from fatigue and dizziness to concentration, dry skin, muscle cramps, bad breath, mood swings, and headaches.
“Mentally and physically, we’re better off being hydrated,” Paula Burke, clinical dietitian at MetroSouth Medical Center in Blue Island, told The Chicago Tribune. “The human body is about 70 percent water; we need it. It helps our circulation, makes us feel better, helps rid our bodies of toxins and prevents constipation. And drinking water before meals helps you eat less if you’re trying to lose weight.” That range of benefits has got to be worth a few more trips to the tap every day. And for more ways you could be setting yourself up for major regrets, check out 20 Surprising Ways You’re Damaging Your Body.