We all need it! And I’d bet my gold tooth that you’ve been told at least once in your life “drink 8 glasses of water a day to stay healthy”. Am I right? The old 8×8 rule (drink eight, 8 oz glasses of water per day) isn’t backed by solid research but it’s a popular phrase for a few reasons….1. it’s easy to remember and 2. there is some truth to it. We may not all need exactly 64 oz of plain water each day to maintain adequate hydration, but it is definitely wise to make water your drink of choice. Thankfully, most people are able to meet their daily fluid needs with very little effort….let thirst be your guide!
Why should I drink water?
Our bodies are estimated to be about 60-70% water and that water is needed in just about every area of our bodies (blood, muscles, joints, organs, etc.)
Water does lots of amazing things like…
- helps to regulate body temperature
- flushes toxins from the body
- lubricates joints
- helps to prevent constipation
- improves heart health and skin
- helps to control appetite and weight (1)
- improves sleep and energy levels (2)
- reduces the likelihood of dental cavities or tooth decay (3)
- helps to manage chronic health conditions (i.e. diabetes mellitus) (4)
So how much water should I drink?
The amount of fluid (not just water) we need each day depends on a few things like age, gender, level of activity, overall health, climate/elevation, and the amount of water consumed from food and other beverages. In general, 80% of the water we consume comes from plain water and other beverages (juice, coffee, soda, tea, etc.). The remaining 20% comes from food. While there is no single formula for fluid needs that fits everyone (i.e. the 8×8 rule) the chart below can serve as a rough estimate for fluid needs based on age and gender.
Check out the chart below to see how much fluid you need:
Is it possible to drink too much water?
Yes. Rare, but true. It is possible to drink too much water, believe it or not. When you drink excessive amounts of water, you can develop hyponatrmia (an electrolyte imbalance in which the level of sodium in your blood is abnormally low and can result in mild to serious health problems).
In general, if you drink enough fluid so that you’re not thirsty and your urine is colorless or light yellow, you’re probably getting enough fluid. If you’re concerned at all about your fluid intake or have other health concerns, I would recommend checking with your doctor.
6 ways to get more water…
- Add sliced fruit to ice water (limes, lemons, oranges, raspberries, etc.).
- Make a “spa water” – add slices of cucumber and a basil leaf to ice water.
- Make a fresh fruit seltzer (add fresh fruit or 2 oz 100% fruit juice to seltzer water or plain water).
- Carry a water bottle with you everywhere you go (in a purse, in a backpack, in the car, to work, school, etc.).
- Have a cup of herbal tea without the added sweeteners (try: green tea, peppermint, chamomile, lemon, etc.).
- Have a glass of water (plain or flavored) with meals and snacks.