It’s no secret that water is essential for maintaining your health, yet finding the right recommended daily amount can seem like a struggle. If you have asked the simple question “How much water should you drink each day?”, you’ve likely found a lot of contradicting answers. In truth, the amount of water you need depends on a variety of factors including how active you are, your level of health and where you live. No one formula is a catch-all for everyone, but knowing how your body uses water will help determine how much you need individually.
Why Do We Need Water?
Water makes up around 60% of your entire body weight and replenishing this water is important for survival. Every component of your body including your organs, tissues and cells use water to continue to function properly. For example, your body uses water to remove waste when you urinate, sweat or have bowel movements. It also helps regulate your body temperature and lubricates your joints. Even worse, if you don’t drink enough water throughout the day, dehydration symptoms can quickly drain your energy and leave you feeling tired.
In reality, you are losing water constantly even through the simple act of breathing. Any activity you perform can make your body’s available water evaporate even faster. In order to maintain optimal health, you need to maintain this water supply by eating foods that contain water or consuming beverages. But how much water do you really need to make this happen? According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, the answer is more manageable than you might think.
What is the Recommended Daily Amount of Water?
Based on the findings of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, men need around 15.5 cups of water each day while women will need around 11.5 cups to stay adequately hydrated. Nearly 20% of this intake will likely come from food and other beverages that aren’t water. When compared to existing recommendations, this information can get even more confusing because the numbers just don’t add up.
While most people have stuck to the age-old advice of drinking around 8 glasses of water daily, this reasonable goal isn’t the right fit for everyone. In most cases, a healthy individual is able to stay hydrated by simply drinking water whenever they are thirsty, meaning fewer or more than 8 glasses of water each day might be required. However, it is important to note that you don’t have to rely on beverages alone to keep your body hydrated.
In most cases, your fluid intake is probably fine as long as you don’t feel thirsty and your urine isn’t taking on a dark hue. The only real way to determine the proper amount of water you should drink daily is by consulting with a doctor or registered dietitian to find the sweet spot for your unique needs. To prevent dehydration, it is important to make water your go-to drink at all times throughout the day any time you are thirsty.