How Much Water Should I Drink Everyday?

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    How Much Water Should I Drink Everyday?

    How much water should you consume daily?

    You’ve heard this question before. So what’s the “right” answer?

    8 cups? 1 gallon? As much water as it takes to satisfy your thirst?

    Why your body needs water

    Water is essential to your body’s functioning and supplies 60% of your bodyweight. (Don’t do the math…I know you were trying to calculate that in your head!) You literally cannot survive without water. In fact, your would die after only a few days of dehydration. (Note to self: make sure I have enough water in my emergency kit…)

    But let’s not focus on the negative. Water provides some amazing benefits:

    • It regulates your body temperature.
    • It helps you expel waste (through urination, bowel movements, and sweating).
    • It cushions and lubricates your joints for increased mobility.
    • It protects your spine and other sensitive tissues.
    • It flushes toxins out of your organs.
    • It carries nutrients to cells throughout your body.
    • It aids in digestion.
    • It nourishes your skin (the largest organ of your body).
    • It aids in lubrication during sexual arousal.

    How much water do you need daily?

    That’s the question of the day!

    Answer #1: Here are the recommendations from the Institute of Medicine (found here on pages 147-153):

    Age Water Intake Per Day
    Adult women 9 cups, 2.7 L, 92 oz
    Pregnant women 10 cups, 3 L, 101 oz
    Women who breastfeed 13 cups, 3.8 L, 128 oz

     

    Answer #2: Another recommendation is to drink half of your bodyweight in ounces.

    your bodyweight in pounds 2 = # of ounces to drink daily

    For example, if you weigh 140lbs, you should drink at least 70oz of water daily.

    140lbs 2 = 70 oz water

    My personal recommendation: Drink half of your bodyweight in ounces, and gain the additional fluids through food and other drinks. Dietitians recommend gaining 20% of your daily fluids from food.

    Using the example above, a 140 lb adult woman would drink 70oz of water per day, and roughly 20oz of water would come from foods, for a total of 90 oz of water. (20% of the recommended 92oz of water per day is 18 oz.)

    70 oz water + 20 oz of water from foods = 90 oz total water intake

    Water intake
    Pure fruit juice is another great way to drink enough fluids each day!

    Sources of water…other than a glass of water

    Thankfully water comes in many forms besides the standard clear liquid. Foods like watermelon, cucumbers, berries, tomatoes, lettuce (especially spinach), citrus fruits, and soup/broth all contain large amounts of water. Even jello and popsicles count toward your daily fluid intake!

    Naturally, all drinks have water in them. I recommend milk, 100% fruit juice, and tea. Need a bit more to actually slurp down water? Add fresh fruit either directly into you glass, or freeze fresh fruit with water in an ice cube tray.

    Although soda and sugary drinks contain water, the extra ingredients tend to counteract the water; I don’t suggest that you count these toward your daily water intake.

    Curious about the water content in other foods? Check out the chart below!

     

    Water Content of Selected Foods (Table 4-16 on page 158)

    Food Water (% by weight)
    Lettuce, iceberg 96
    Squash, cooked 94
    Pickle 92
    Cantaloupe, raw 90
    Broccoli, cooked 89
    Peach, raw 89
    Milk, 2% 89
    Broccoli, cooked 89
    Peach, raw 89
    Carrots, raw 88
    Orange, raw 87
    Apple, raw 86
    Pineapple, raw 86
    Apricot, raw 86
    Pear, raw 84
    Grapes, raw 81
    Sweet potato, boiled 80
    Banana, raw 75
    Potato, baked 75
    Ham, cooked 70
    Corn, cooked 70
    Macaroni/spaghetti, cooked 66
    Chicken, roasted 64
    Turkey, roasted 62
    Steak tenderloin, cooked 50
    Bread, whole wheat 38
    Cheddar cheese 37
    Bread, white 36
    Walnuts 4
    Chocolate chip cookies 4
    Crackers, saltines 4
    Corn flakes cereal 3
    Peanuts, dry roasted 2

     

    Other factors that impact water intake

    Activity level: Sweating actively depletes your body of water. Try drinking 1-2 glasses of water before you exercise. If you’re doing intense activities that last for more than 1 hour, consider drinking a sports drink to help replenish water and electrolytes lost from your sweat.

    Environment: Remember how sweating is a form of dehydrating your body? High temperatures, humid weather, and high altitudes should signal you to drink extra water.

    Pregnancy/breast feeding: As shown in the chart above, growing and feeding a baby are hard work for a Mama’s body! Gulp down some extra fluids to keep you and your baby healthy and hydrated.

    Diet: Do you gravitate toward salty foods? Sodium-rich foods cause your body to retain fluid and make you thirstier. Balance out your salty food diet by either reducing your sodium intake or drinking an extra glass of water.

    How do I know if my body is well hydrated?

    You’re taking in enough fluids if:

    • Your urine is light yellow or clear
    • You rarely get thirsty
    • Your skin, mouth and lips are hydrated (not dry)

    Ways to track your water intake

    It’s probably not reasonable to keep track of how many glasses of water you’ve drank today…unless you’re extra good with numbers! Here are a few popular methods to keep up with your water intake:

    • Drink water from a water bottle with a tracker on it. I personally use this one by Thermos that has a rotating dial on the neck. But I’ve had my eye on this one as well (because those bracelet bands are so pretty and colorful!).
    • Buy a large water bottle (my favorite is this 32 oz Contigo) and challenge yourself to drink 3 full bottles each day (one in the morning, one in the afternoon, and one in the evening).
    • Log your glasses in your daily planner/calendar using fun stickers. Not into stickers? Use tally marks to keep up with how many glasses you’ve guzzled so far.
    • There’s an app for that! Heathline wrote a blog about the 10 best hydration apps in 2017. My husband uses Water Drink Reminder, which frequently jingles a sound like water filling up a glass to remind my husband to take a sip throughout the day.

     

    *Note: Everyone’s bodies are different. Depending on your overall health, prescriptions, and/or medical conditions, please consult your physician regarding how much water is the right amount for your body.

    Need more encouragement to help you drink more water? These resources may be helpful!

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