Are you tired of hearing that you need to drink more water? Maybe you drink enough already. Then again, maybe you don’t.
Learn how much water you should drink, why water is important for your health and how to get enough of it each day.
Why is water important?
Water is necessary for every cell, tissue and organ in your body to work normally. You need water to survive. Water is involved in four essential processes in your body:
- It helps you easily flush waste and prevents kidney damage (including kidney stones) through sweating, urination and bowel movements
- It keeps your joints, skin, eyes, mouth and nose lubricated
- It normalizes your temperature and reduces heat stress
- It stops you from becoming dehydrated, which zaps your energy and reduces overall organ function
How much water do you need daily?
You’ve heard that you need eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. That’s a general recommendation to stay hydrated but you actually need more than that per day. However, the fluids you need come from other food and beverages beyond just water.
You may need more or less than eight glasses of water a day. It depends on the following factors:
- If you live in a hot or very humid region, you’ll sweat more, which means you need more fluids.
- If you’re an active individual, you’ll sweat more and need extra fluid to cover the loss of water and replace electrolytes, or minerals, in your blood.
- If you’re ill from a dehydrating fever or infection, you’ll need to ingest more fluids.
- If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, you need more fluid per day.
What if you don’t like water?
If you don’t like the taste of water, you might have a hard time drinking enough plain water to meet your daily fluid needs. Luckily, there are plenty of other sources that can take the place of regular, flat, tap or bottled water. The following items have high water content:
- Seltzer (flavored or unflavored) contains 100 percent water
- Cucumbers, lettuce, cabbage, cauliflower, bell peppers, tomatoes, celery and zucchini contain over 90 percent water
- Watermelon, strawberries and cantaloupe all contain over 90 percent water
- Broths and soups contain over 90 percent water
- Skim milk contains over 90 percent water
- Plain yogurt has over 80 percent water
- Grapefruit has over 80 percent water
- Cottage cheese has 80 percent water
Are sports drinks water?
Sports drinks are best when you use them after intense exercise that lasts over an hour. This kind of fluid replaces lost electrolytes and sugar, but it doesn’t count as part of your daily water intake.
However, never use an energy drink as part of your water intake. Energy drinks contain huge amounts of caffeine, sugar and other additives, including stimulants. The same goes for fruit juice, another drink loaded with sugars.
You’re probably taking in enough liquids to stay safely hydrated if you’re rarely thirsty and your urine is light yellow or almost colorless. Dark yellow urine can mean you’re dehydrated though.
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