How Much Water Should You Drink A Day? The Health Benefits of Hydration

how much water to drink a day

Quick Health Scoop

  • Water plays a critical role in your overall health, responsible for helping every system in your body
  • It’s vital to consume adequate water daily, but how much water to drink per day depends on a variety of factors
  • In general, aim to drink 64 oz. of water per day
  • Other options besides plain water count toward your daily intake, including milk, 100% juice, coffee, tea, and high-water-content foods

Did you know that the U.S. celebrates National Hydration Day every June 23rd? This annual event serves as an important reminder to drink enough water every day to avoid the health dangers of dehydration.

While drinking water might seem like a no-brainer, many people don’t get enough H20 every day. And when that happens, dehydration can set in. This dangerous condition can cause unclear thinking, mood change, overheating, and lead to constipation and kidney stones.1 It can also cause dizziness, headaches, and exhaustion. 2 

Because staying properly hydrated can prevent dehydration, drinking water frequently should be part of your healthy lifestyle. When your body is properly hydrated, you feel better both mentally and physically. And taking care of this basic need might inspire you to adopt other healthy habits, such as exercising and eating more fruits and vegetables

But what are the health benefits of water? How much water should you drink a day? And how can you increase your water intake? Let’s dive in for a refresher on the importance of water and how much water a day you need.

What Are The Main Functions Of Water In The Body?

Let’s start with why you need water in the first place. You might not realize it, but water plays a critical role in your daily life. In fact, the human body is made up of 50 to 75 percent water (about 10 to 12 gallons).3 Water helps your body function properly: 1, 4 

  • regulates body temperature
  • stabilizes heartbeat
  • carries nutrients and oxygen to cells
  • cushions and lubricates joints
  • protects organs, the spinal cord, and tissues
  • helps with digestion
  • eliminates waste through urination, perspiration, and bowel movements
  • prevents constipation
  • regulates blood pressure
  • maintains electrolyte (sodium) balance

Plus, here are 8 more benefits of drinking water: 5, 6, 7, 8

  1. Supports energy and reduces fatigue
  2. Supports physical performance
  3. Helps support healthy skin 
  4. Helps with weight management
  5. Flushes out toxins from the body
  6. Supports healthy kidneys
  7. Maintains regularity
  8. Supports brain function

How Many Ounces Of Water Should You Drink A Day?

Hydration levels vary for individuals depending on your size, sex, health, activity level, diet, location, and metabolism, but the standard number to aim for is 64-ounces a day. 5

Some sources break down daily water requirements by sex: 3, 9

Men

Women

15.5 to 16 cups of fluids

11 to 11.5 cups of total fluid


Should you drink water every hour? It wouldn’t hurt to develop this hourly habit. But the best way to tell if you’re getting enough water is to pay attention to your body. If you rarely feel thirsty and your urine is colorless or light yellow, then you’re probably getting enough fluids. 9

What Counts Towards Water Intake?

If the thought of consuming 64 ounces of water every day doesn’t appeal to you, no worries! Try these ideas to boost your water intake:

  • Drink water with (and between) meals.
  • Take a water bottle with your wherever you go. No need to guzzle—just drink throughout the day and keep replenishing. Hint: Eight 8-oz. glasses of water = 64 oz.
  • Think beyond plain ol’ water. Add flavor-makers such as lemon slices, mint leaves, or frozen strawberries. Tip: Don’t overlook the health benefits of drinking lemon water, such as helping with digestion, supplying potassium and Vitamin C, and helping to prevent kidney stones. 10
  • Other drinks count towards your water intake, too. Your best bet? Drink nutrient-rich, low-calorie beverages such as low-fat milk, fortified dairy alternatives, or 100% fruit or vegetable juice. You could also drink herbal tea or coffee. Tip: Skip the sugary beverages like soda, lemonade, sports drinks, fruit punch, and energy drinks. While they provide some fluid replacement, they’re typically loaded with sugar.

Most people get the daily amount of fluids by drinking water and other beverages. But you can also get some fluids through high-water-content foods, such as:

  • Fruits: cantaloupe, strawberries, watermelon, bananas, grapes, oranges, pears and pineapples.
  • Vegetables: lettuce, cabbage, celery, spinach, cooked squash, carrots, cooked broccoli and avocados.
  • Dairy products like yogurt, cottage cheese and ricotta cheese.

The Bottom Line

Drinking enough water every day is essential to your health, as dehydration can negatively impact you mentally and physically. Because of the many health benefits of water, it’s vital to replenish your supply every day. How much water should you drink? The quantity varies depending on several factors but try to drink 64 oz. of water daily. Remember that healthy beverages also count toward your intake, as do high-water-content foods.  

Continue to check back on the Nature Made blog for the latest science-backed articles to help you take ownership of your health.

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This information is only for educational purposes and is not medical advice or intended as a recommendation of any specific products. Consult your health care provider for more information.

References 

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Water and Healthier Drinks.” January 12, 2021. Accessed on: June 9, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating/water-and-healthier-drinks.html
  2. Urology Centers of Alabama. “National Hydration Day!” June 23, 2020. Accessed on: June 9, 2021. https://www.urologycentersalabama.com/national-hydration-day/
  3. Penn State Extension. “Water, Water Everywhere.” September 7, 2017. Accessed on: June 9, 2021. https://extension.psu.edu/water-water-everywhere
  4. Harvard Health Publishing. “How much water should you drink?” March 25, 2020. Accessed on: June 9, 2021. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-much-water-should-you-drink
  5. Cleveland Clinic. “Are There Any Health Benefits to Drinking a Gallon of Water a Day?” February 2, 2021. Accessed on: June 10, 2021. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/are-there-any-health-benefits-to-drinking-a-gallon-of-water-a-day/
  6. Access Health Louisiana. “Top 5 Benefits of Drinking Water.” 2021. Accessed on: June 10, 2021. Accessed on: June 10, 2021. https://accesshealthla.org/top-5-benefits-drinking-water/
  7. Dignity Health. “6 Reasons to Drink More Water — Doctor's Orders.” December 16, 2017. Accessed on: June 10, 2021. https://www.dignityhealth.org/articles/6-reasons-to-drink-more-water--doctors-orders
  8. St. Luke’s Health. “Surprising Benefits of Drinking Water.” July 5, 2018. Accessed on: June 10, 2021. https://www.stlukeshealth.org/resources/surprising-benefits-drinking-water
  9. Mayo Clinic. “Water: How much should you drink every day?” October 14, 2020. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256
  10. Cleveland Clinic. “7 Reasons to Start Your Day With Lemon Water” January 17, 2020. Accessed on: June 10, 2021. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/7-reasons-to-start-your-day-with-lemon-water-infographic/