We all know drinking water is important, but just how important is it? Water makes up about 60% of our body weight, so it’s absolutely vital to maintaining good health. It regulates our blood pressure and body temperature, it keeps our ears, nose, and throat moist, and our nails, skin, and hair are dependent on water to be healthy. Without enough water, we feel tired, sluggish, and can even think we are hungry when we are really just thirsty! Every body system, organ, tissue, and cell needs water to function properly. We know we need it to feel and look our best. But, how much water do we need?
Recommendations about water intake have varied over the years. The common advice “8 and 8,” or 8 eight ounce glasses of water a day, is close to what is suggested in the medical field. The Institute of Medicine recommends men drink about 13 cups of total beverages a day, while women need about 9 cups of total beverages a day. Notice this amount is for total beverage intake, not just water. Additionally, no longer do coffee, tea, and sodas count against your daily fluid intake—they are to be included like any other beverages (excluding alcoholic beverages) for a combined total. The myth that the diuretic effect of drinks like coffee causes you to loose water has been debunked. The water in these types of drinks more than compensates for their diuretic property. Furthermore, many fruits are excellent sources for fluid; watermelon is 90% water. If you are getting your 8 eight ounces of water a day, you are likely getting the rest of your recommended daily fluid intake through other beverages and food items you are ingesting.
As with all dietary recommendations, amounts and averages vary depending on a person’s health and activity level. For a quick check of your hydration, just employ the urine test. WebMD states you are well hydrated if you are urinating every two to four hours, the output is light, and there is significant volume. If you strive to reach your body’s hydration needs, you can be confident you are well on your way to looking and feeling your very best.