There are many health benefits from drinking water, including weight loss and reduced fluid retention, but above all, the body simply cannot function without it. But how much water do you actually need to drink each day?
No Easy Answers
The truth is, your water needs depend on many factors, including your health, how active you are, and where you live. No single formula fits everyone, so understanding your body’s individual needs is essential in helping to determine how much water you should be drinking each day to maintain optimal health and stay hydrated.
Health Benefits of Water
Understanding how your body and health can benefit from water is the first step to determining how much water you need each day. Water is your body’s principal chemical component, comprising, on average, 60 percent of your weight. Every system in your body depends on water. For example, water flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells, and provides a moist environment for ear, nose, and throat tissues. Lack of water can lead to fatigue, dizziness, cramping, and other symptoms of dehydration.
Every day you lose water through breathing, perspiration and urine, and bowel movements. For your body to function properly, you must replenish its water supply by consuming beverages and foods that contain water.
Recommended Daily Intake
Replacement and simple dietary recommendations can help approximate water needs for an average adult living in a temperate climate. The replacement approach refers to replacing the normal amount of fluids you typically lose each day. On average, two liters of water or other beverages a day (a little more than eight cups), along with your normal diet, will replace lost fluids.
Another approach to staying hydrated is to follow basic dietary recommendations. On average, men should consume three liters (about 13 cups) of liquid a day and women 2.2 liters (about nine cups). As a rule of thumb, if you drink enough fluids to rarely feel thirsty and always produce colorless or slightly yellow urine, your fluid intake is most likely adequate. However, it is important to remember that you may need to modify your total fluid intake depending on how active you are, the climate you live in, your health status, and whether or not you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
The Fluid of Choice
To ward off dehydration and make sure your body has the fluids it needs, makes water your beverage of choice. To help your daily water intake, consider drinking a glass of water with each meal and between each meal. Always hydrate before, during, and after exercise, and choose sparkling water instead of alcoholic drinks or soft drinks at social gatherings. If you drink water from a bottle, make sure to thoroughly clean or replace the bottle often and only refill bottles designed for reuse.