Your body contains more water than anything else, about 60% of your total body weight. Water helps regulate your body temperature, transports nutrients, and helps remove waste. Every day you lose water when you breathe, sweat, get rid of waste, and that water needs to be replenished.
The big question is how much water do you need to drink every day? That’s a simple question, but it doesn’t have an easy answer. It depends on some environmental and physical factors that can change every day. Also, it’s not just the water you drink – about 20% of your water intake comes from the foods you eat. The remaining 80% comes from water, other drinks and anything liquid.
The Institute of Medicine of the National Academy reviewed years of research evidence on adequate water intake and has the following recommendations:
- Men: 13 cups (about 10.5 cups from beverages)
- Women: 9 cups (about 7 cups from beverages)
- Pregnant women: 10 cups (about 8 cups from beverages)
- Breastfeeding women: 13 cups (about 10.5 cups from beverages)
How Do You Know If You’re Drinking Enough Water?
Most people can gauge their water intake by looking at urine color. If you’re getting enough water, your urine will be pale yellow, and you’ll pass urine several times a day. Urine color doesn’t work for everyone. Taking dietary supplements that contain riboflavin will make your urine bright yellow, and certain medications can also change the color of your urine. And if you have any kidney problems or other heath conditions you should talk to your health care provider about how much water to drink.
So why shouldn’t you get your liquid intake from sodas and other beverages? It’s because these drinks contain sugars, chemicals and other additives which increase your calorie intake and add possibly unhealthy substances to your body. Water should be your main drink of choice every day – and you will have clearer skin, more energy and better health overall.
Next week we’ll look at how you can know when you need to drink extra water-don’t miss it!