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 should you actually be drinking each day?
No Easy Answer
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, urine and bowel movements. For your body to function properly, you have to 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, drinking 2 liters (a little more than 8 cups) of water or other beverages a day 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 3 liters (about 13 cups) and women should consumer 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of liquid a day. As a rule of thumb, if you drink enough fluids to rarely feel thirsty, and always produce colorless or slightly yellow urine, then 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, make water your beverage of choice. Consider drinking a glass of water with each meal and between each meal to help reach your daily water intake. 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 that are designed for reuse.
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