How much water should you drink per day? This is a simple question without an easy answer.
Research has produced various recommendations over the years. But your water needs depend on many factors, including your health, how active you are, and where you live.
There is no one formula that works for everyone. But knowing more about your body’s fluid needs can help you estimate how much water you should drink in a day.
What are the health benefits of water?
Water is the primary chemical component of your body, accounting for 50 to 70 percent of your body weight. Your body depends on water to survive.
Every cell, tissue, and organ in your body needs water to function properly. For example, water:
Waste is eliminated through urination, sweating, and bowel movements
Keep your temperature normal
Lubricate and lubricate joints
Protects delicate tissues
Lack of water can lead to dehydration – a condition that occurs when your body does not have enough water to function normally. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you feel tired.
How much water do you need?
Water is lost every day through breathing, perspiration, urine and bowel movements. In order for your body to function properly, it must replenish its water reserves by consuming foods and drinks that contain water.
So how much fluid does the average healthy adult living in a temperate climate need? The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine of the United States of America have determined the daily intake of adequate amounts of fluid as follows.
About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluid per day for men
For women, about 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluid per day
These recommendations cover water, other beverages, and food liquids. About 20% of the daily fluid intake comes from food and the rest from drinks.
What about the 8 glasses a day advice?
You’ve probably heard the advice to drink eight glasses of water a day. It’s easy to remember, and it’s a reasonable goal.
Most healthy people can stay hydrated by drinking water or other fluids when they are thirsty. For some people, at least 8 glasses a day is enough. But others may need more.
You may need to adjust your total fluid intake based on several factors.
Exercise. If you engage in any activity that makes you sweat, you should drink extra water to replace fluid loss. It is important to drink water before, during and after exercise.
Environment. Hot or humid weather requires sweating and extra fluids. Dehydration can also occur at high altitudes.
Overall health. When you have a fever, vomiting, or diarrhea, your body becomes dehydrated. Follow your doctor’s advice to drink more water or take an oral rehydration solution. Other conditions that require increased fluid intake include bladder infections and urinary stones.
Pregnancy and lactation. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you may need extra fluids to stay hydrated.
Is water the only way to stay hydrated?
No. You don’t have to rely on water alone to meet your hydration needs. What you eat also plays an important role. For example, many fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon and spinach, are almost 100% water by weight.
In addition, beverages such as milk, juice, and herbal teas often consist of water. Caffeinated beverages like coffee and soda also contribute to your daily water intake. But don’t drink sugary drinks. Regular soda, energy or sports drinks, and other sugary drinks often contain a lot of sugar, which provides more calories than needed.
How do I know if I’m drinking enough?
Your fluid intake is likely to be adequate if:
You are rarely thirsty
Your urine is colorless or pale yellow
Your doctor or dietitian can help you determine the right amount of water to drink each day.
Make water your drink of choice to make sure your body has the fluids it needs to prevent dehydration. Drink a glass of water.
Each meal and between meals
Before, during and after exercise
If you are thirsty
Should I be worried about drinking too much water?
Drinking too much water is rare in healthy, well-nourished adults. Athletes may drink too much water to prevent dehydration during prolonged or intense exercise. When you drink too much water, the kidneys cannot excrete the excess water. The sodium content in your blood will be diluted. This is called hyponatremia, and it can be life-threatening.