How Much Water Should You Drink A Day For Optimal Health?
It seems like a simple question but there’s not always a straight forward answer. So, how much water is the right amount for you to drink every day?
Well, this is a little different for everyone. Calculating your individual water needs requires taking a look at multiple factors, including your health, your activity level, and even where you live. But, taking a few minutes to determine your body’s daily water requirement can have impressive health benefits.
Why Is Water Important For Health?
Water makes up about 70% of your body weight and, as such, is not only essential for optimal health and wellness, but for survival itself.
Each cell, tissue and organ in your body needs water to work properly. For example, water helps:
- carry nutrients and oxygen to your cells
- detoxify your body
- aid proper digestion
- prevent constipation
- normalize blood pressure
- hydrate and cushion joints
- protect organs and sensitive tissues
- regulate body temperature
- maintain electrolyte balance
- aid in weight-loss
Lack of adequate water intake can result in dehydration or your body not having enough water to complete normal daily functions. In fact, just falling short of your daily water requirement can deplete your energy and make you feel tired.
How Much Water Do I Need Every Day?
We lose water all day long through breath, sweat, and bathroom visits. For optimal health and your body to work correctly, you need to replenish its water supply each and every day. While consuming foods and other beverages help – there is no comparison to water itself.
So. how much water do you need to drink each day? Well, according to Web MD:
- “For men, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends a total of 13 cups (about 3 liters) of fluid each day.”
- “For women, they suggest 9 cups (a little over 2 liters) of fluid each day. Pregnant women should drink about 10 cups of water daily. Those who breastfeed need about 12 cups.”
What Other Factors Should I Consider?
When determining how much water to drink every day, it’s important to remember these key factors as they may require you to add a little more to your daily water goal:
Exercise: When you perform any action that makes you sweat, you need to up your water intake to replenish. Remember to drink water before, during and after exercise.
Climate: Hot or humid weather and higher elevation can also require additional water intake.
Health and wellbeing: Some conditions like fever, vomiting, and diarrhea can cause your body to lose water. Be sure to drink more water and follow a doctor’s suggestions. There are other conditions that may require more water intake, so be sure to check with your doctor.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding: Pregnant or breastfeeding women may require extra water to remain hydrated. Again, be sure to check with your doctor.
How Do I Know If I'm Hydrated?
Your water intake is most likely sufficient if:
- You seldom feel thirsty
- Your urine is clear
To avoid dehydration and ensure your body is getting the fluids it needs, water should be your drink of choice. It’s wise to drink a glass of water:
- With every meal
- Between meals
- Before, during and after exercise
- Whenever you’re thirsty
Can You Drink Too Much Water?
While drinking too much water can cause hyponatremia, this is rare in healthy adults. This occurs when you consume so much water that your kidneys can’t dispose of the excess water and can be life-threatening.