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
eliminates waste through urination, perspiration, and bowel movements
regulates blood pressure
maintains electrolyte (sodium) balance
Plus, here are 8 more benefits of drinking water:5, 6, 7, 8
Supports energy and reduces fatigue
Supports physical performance
Helps support healthy skin
Helps with weight management
Flushes out toxins from the body
Supports healthy kidneys
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
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.
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.
Lisa Beach is a seasoned journalist whose work has been published in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, Eating Well, Parents, AARP’s Disrupt Aging, Optimum Wellness, and dozens more. She also writes for a variety of health/wellness-focused brands. Check out her writer’s website at www.LisaBeachWrites.com.
Lynn is a Registered Dietitian (R.D.) and is a member of the Medical and Scientific Communications team at Pharmavite. She has over 20 years of experience in integrative and functional nutrition and has given lectures to health professionals and consumers on nutrition, dietary supplements and related health issues. Lynn frequently conducts employee trainings on various nutrition topics in addition to educating retail partners on vitamins, minerals and supplements. Lynn has previous clinical dietitian expertise in both acute and long-term care, as well as nutrition counseling for weight management, diabetes, and sports nutrition. Lynn earned a bachelor’s of science in Nutrition with a minor in Kinesiology/Exercise Science from The Pennsylvania State University. She earned a M.S. degree in Human Nutrition from Marywood University in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Lynn is an active member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Sports Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutritionists, Dietitians in Functional Medicine, and holds a certification in Integrative and Functional Nutrition through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.