Drinking enough water every day is essential to staying healthy, but how much water do you need? Widespread advice is to drink eight glasses of water every day. However, this recommendation does not apply to everyone. Recommended daily water intake varies by age, gender, pregnancy, lactation and health status.
Read more about how much water you should drink per day, why it’s important for your overall health, and the signs of being well hydrated.
How much water do you need in a day?
Adequate hydration, or drinking enough fluids, is essential to good health. Hydration affects skin health, nerve function, digestion and kidney function.
We lose (and must replace) water throughout the day through sweating, breathing, urinating and defecating. For healthy people Vasopressin hormone (aka diuretic hormones) and the kidneys help regulate fluid loss. Thirst tells your body to drink more water.
Most people lose over 16 ounces (or 500 milliliters) of water per day through urine. That means drinking at least 16 ounces (2 cups) of fluids can help replace lost urine. If your urine is very light in color and has very little odor, it indicates that you are well hydrated. Dark urine may indicate dehydration.
Your body needs different amounts of water, depending on how much you exercise, how much you urinate, and how much you sweat. For most healthy adults, the amount of water to prevent dehydration is:
- 13 cups for men
- 9 cups for women
You can also get fluids from other beverages and foods that contain a lot of water, such as fruits and vegetables. It is also estimated that approximately 22% of water intake in the United States comes from food.
You may need more water if:
- live or work in a hot climate
- Exercise a lot and sweat a lot
- have fever, diarrhea, or vomiting
- pregnant or breastfeeding
What are the benefits of drinking water?
Water is essential for health. Humans can only live a few days without it. 75% of body weight in infants and 55% of body weight in the elderly is water. Every cell in your body needs water to function and repair itself.
Drinking water has the following benefits:
- Avoiding dehydration
- Helps regulate body temperature and blood pressure
- Lubrication and cushioning of joints
- protect the spine and other body tissues
- Removes waste products from the body through sweat, urine, and bowel movements
- Prevention of urinary tract infections, kidney stones and constipation
Can you lose weight by drinking water?
Advice to drink water for weight loss is widespread. One study found that 30% of U.S. adults who tried to lose weight said they drank a lot of water. A smaller research study showed that 59% of adults frequently use drinking water as a weight loss or weight management practice.
Some people believe that drinking water instead of sugar-containing beverages, such as sodas and juices, reduces the total number of calories consumed and helps prevent overweight and obesity. will make you feel fuller and reduce hunger in the short term.
However, there is limited evidence that drinking water helps with weight loss and long-term weight maintenance. Many studies have shown that more water consumption is not associated with weight loss.
Although there is no definitive evidence regarding water for weight loss, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that as part of a healthy diet, less calories such as water are used as a primary source of hydration than other sugar-sweetened beverages. We recommend that you choose beverages that do not contain
Do other fluids help with hydration?
There are many drinks other than water that can help you stay hydrated.
The best choice drinks are:
- Low or zero calorie beverages such as plain coffee, plain tea, sparkling or seltzer water, flavored water
- Beverages that contain calories and other essential nutrients (such as dairy or fortified dairy-free milk, 100% fruit and vegetable juices, and smoothies)
Other liquids that can help you stay hydrated but should be limited include:
- Sugary drinks such as sodas and fruit drinks
- Caffeinated beverages such as energy drinks, coffee, milk or sweetened tea
- Sugar substitute drink
- Sports Drink
Sports drinks generally contain carbohydrates, electrolytes and vitamins. Studies have shown that sports drinks may benefit people who exercise vigorously for an hour or more, especially those who sweat profusely. For most people, plain water is sufficient for hydration during exercise.
How to tell if you’re hydrated
The easiest way to tell if you’re hydrated is to check your urine. If you urinate regularly, are light and clear in color, and don’t have a strong odor, you’re probably hydrated.
Other signs of hydration may include a regular pulse, firm skin (bouncing when pinched), and plenty of water in the eyes, mouth, and lips. Drinking water and other liquids regularly throughout the day and eating foods rich in water will help you stay hydrated.
It’s easier to identify signs of dehydration than hydration. If you are well hydrated, the following symptoms will go away:
- excessive thirst
- dry mouth, eyes, or skin
- headache or cognitive impairment
- confusion, dizziness, or irritability
- inadequate urination or constipation
Drinking water is necessary for optimal health. The daily amount of water you need to stay hydrated depends on your specific needs, health condition and lifestyle. You can get water and fluids from food and other beverages. If you live or work in a hot climate, or exercise and sweat, consider increasing the number of glasses of water you drink each day.
A Word on Wellness
For most people, eating and drinking regularly throughout the day is enough to keep you hydrated, especially if you’re eating water-rich foods like fruits and vegetables. Not waiting to drink when you’re excessively thirsty and making sure you’re urinating regularly can help you stay hydrated. Talk to a trusted health care provider, such as a dietitian, to develop a plan for staying hydrated.
This story was first published on www.verywellhealth.com
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