Every day you lose water through your breath, perspiration, urine and bowel movements. For your body to function properly, you must replenish its water supply by consuming beverages and foods that contain water.
So how much fluid does the average, healthy adult living in a temperate climate need? The Institute of Medicine determined that an adequate intake (AI) for MEN is roughly about 13 cups (3 liters) of total beverages a day. The AI for WOMEN is about 9 cups (2.2 liters) of total beverages a day.
According to experts in a recent study, drinking just 2 cups of water, which is smaller than the size of a bottled soda, before meals helped dieters lose an extra five pounds yearly and help you maintain your weight loss.
How to calculate how much water you should drink a day:
- Your weight: The amount of water a person should drink varies on their weight, which makes sense because the more someone weighs the more water they need to drink.
- Multiply by 2/3: Next you want to multiple your weight by 2/3 (or 67%) to determine how much water to drink daily. For example, if you weighed 175 pounds you would multiple that by 2/3 and learn you should be drinking about 117 ounces of water every day.
- Activity Level: Finally you will want to adjust that number based on how often you work out, since you are expelling water when you sweat. You should add 12 ounces of water to your daily total for every 30 minutes that you work out. So if you work out for 45 minutes daily, you would add 18 ounces of water to your daily intake.
To make it a little easier to calculate how much water to drink everyday, here are the recommended amounts for a range of weights. Remember to adjust for your activity level.
Ounces of Water Daily
Tips for Reaching Your Daily Water Goals
So now that you know how much water you should be drinking everyday, let’s talk about how to make sure you actually get enough. Drinking over 100 ounces of water may seem impossible at first, but with these easy tips you can reach your goal in no time.
- Drink 2 cups (16 oz) of water before every meal: Science has proven that drinking 2 cups of water before every meal helps you to eat less during meal time and lose weight. If you do this three times daily – at breakfast, lunch, and dinner – you have already consumed 48 ounces of water.
- Morning and Night: Get into the habit of drinking one glass (16 oz) of water when you wake up and another 8 oz glass before you go to sleep every night. This will add another 24 ounces of water to your daily intake. The easiest way to do this is to keep a glass or container of water at your bedside, that way as soon as you wake up and start your day, you can begin drinking water.
- Keep Track By Your Container: One thing that has proven to help people consumer enough water daily is to buy a special container for their water, like this one or this one, and set a goal of how many times they will fill an finish the container. For example, if you buy a 16 oz container and need to drink 80 ounces of water a day, your goal would be to drink 5 of those daily. Need to drink more water? Try a larger container.
- Infuse Your Water With Flavor: Water doesn’t have to be boring and infusing your water with fruit, herbs, and other flavors can make it much easier to reach your daily goal. Try adding cucumber, strawberries,lemons, limes, and fresh herbs to create flavorful water. This fruit infusion water pitcher is a great way to always have great tasting water on hand.
- Bubbles: Consider carbonated and sparkling water in addition to regular water. Many people find that adding sparkling water and 0 calorie flavored water makes drinking water throughout the day more fun. Find yourself drinking lots of expensive sparkling water? Consider buying a soda-stream and make your own delicious sparkling beverages at home.
Hydrating Through Fruits and Veggies:
Approximately 80% of our water intake comes from drinking water and other beverages, and the other 20% comes from food. Here are some foods with high water content, according to the American Dietetic Association:
Lettuce (1½ cup)
Watermelon (1½ cup)
Broccoli (1½ cup)
Grapefruit (1½ cup)
Milk (1 cup)
Orange juice (3/4 cup)
Carrot (1½ cup)
Yogurt (1 cup)
Apple (one medium)
- Cucumbers have the highest water content of any solid food at 97 percent.
- Iceberg lettuce may not have the highest nutrient rating, but it is 96 percent water.
- Celery has folate and vitamins A, C, and K and is also 96 percent water.
- Radishes have high-antioxidant content and also a water content of 95 percent.
- Tomatoes are high in the antioxidant lycopene and have a water content of 95 percent.
- Red, yellow, and green peppers all have about 92-93 percent water content.
- Cauliflower may look pale and devoid of nutrients, but it is actually filled with vitamins and phytonutrients and is 92 percent water.
- Watermelon can thank the powerful cancer-fighting antioxidant lycopene for its red hue and is 92 percent water.
- Spinach is rich in lutein, potassium, fiber, and folate and is 91 percent water.
- Berries are all great sources of water, hovering in the high 80th percentile, but strawberries have the highest water content with 91 percent.
- Broccoli is a calciferous vegetable, which means it is great at fighting cancer cells, but it is also 91 percent water.
- Grapefruit is high in vitamin C and contains 90 percent water
Factors that influence water needs:
You may need to modify your total fluid intake depending on how active you are, the climate you live in, your health status, and if you’re pregnant or breast-feeding.
- Exercise. If you exercise or engage in any activity that makes you sweat, you need to drink extra water to compensate for the fluid loss. An extra 1.5 to 2.5 cups (400 to 600 milliliters) of water should suffice for short bouts of exercise, but intense exercise lasting more than an hour (for example, running a marathon) requires more fluid intake. How much additional fluid you need depends on how much you sweat during exercise, and the duration and type of exercise. Longer Duration = More Fluid
- Intense exercise. During long bouts of intense exercise, it’s best to use a sports drink that contains sodium, as this will help replace sodium lost in sweat and reduce the chances of developing hypothermia, which can be life-threatening. Also, continue to replace fluids after you’re finished exercising.
- Environment. Hot or humid weather can make you sweat and requires additional intake of fluid. Heated indoor air also can cause your skin to lose moisture during wintertime. Further, altitudes greater than 8,200 feet (2,500 meters) may trigger increased urination and more rapid breathing, which use up more of your fluid reserves.
- Illnesses or health conditions. When you have fever, vomiting or diarrhea, your body loses additional fluids. In these cases, you should drink more water. In some cases, your doctor may recommend oral re-hydration solutions, such as Gatorade, Powerade or CeraLyte. You may also need increased fluid intake if you develop certain conditions, including bladder infections or urinary tract stones. On the other hand, some conditions, such as heart failure and some types of kidney, liver and adrenal diseases, may impair excretion of water and even require that you limit your fluid intake.
- Pregnancy or breast-feeding. Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding need additional fluids to stay hydrated. Large amounts of fluid are used especially when nursing. The Institute of Medicine recommends that pregnant women drink about 10 cups (2.3 liters) of fluids daily and women who breast-feed consume about 13 cups (3.1 liters ) of fluids a day.
How Water Regulates the Human Body:
Beyond the tap: Other sources of water
You don’t need to rely only on what you drink to meet your fluid needs. What you eat also provides a significant portion of your fluid needs. On average, food provides about 20 percent of total water intake. For example, many fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon and spinach, are 90 percent or more water by weight.
In addition, beverages such as milk and juice are composed mostly of water. Even beer, wine and caffeinated beverages — such as coffee, tea or soda — can contribute, but these should not be a major portion of your daily total fluid intake. Water is still your best bet because it’s calorie-free, inexpensive and readily available.
Staying safely hydrated
Generally, if you drink enough fluid so that you rarely feel thirsty and your urine is colorless or light yellow — and measures about 6.3 cups (1.5 liters) or more a day if you were to keep track — your fluid intake is probably adequate. If you’re concerned about your fluid intake or have health issues, check with your doctor or a registered dietitian. He or she can help you determine the amount of water that’s right for you.
To ward off dehydration and make sure your body has the fluids it needs, make water your beverage of choice. It’s also a good idea to:
- Drink a glass of water or other calorie-free or low-calorie beverage with each meal and between each meal
- Drink water before, during and after exercise
Although uncommon, it is possible to drink too much water. When your kidneys are unable to excrete the excess water, the electrolyte (mineral) content of the blood is diluted, resulting in low sodium levels in the blood, a condition called hyponatremia. Endurance athletes, such as marathon runners who drink large amounts of water, are at higher risk of hyponatremia. In general, though, drinking too much water is rare in healthy adults who eat an average American diet.