How Much Water Should You Drink?

neon sign - water availableDo you want to take a nap? Maybe you have a kind of niggling but not-quite-full-blown headache?

Try guzzling some water.

Dehydration Can Cause Fatigue

Lots of machines don’t function well when they have low water levels, and neither do you. Even being mildly dehydrated can slow your metabolism, drain your energy, and make you feel tired.

Some Signs of Mild to Moderate Dehydration

In addition to feeling tired, here are some signs of mild to moderate dehydration:

  • a dry, sticky mouth
  • feeling thirsty
  • not urinating as much
  • having fewer or no tears when you cry
  • dry skin
  • headache
  • constipation
  • feeling dizzy or lightheaded

Don’t you wish you had a dipstick to measure the water levels in your body – like you measure the level of oil in your car?

About 60% of Your Body Weight Is Water

Water is the main chemical component in your body and accounts for about 60% of your body weight. Every system in your body depends on it.

You need water for the chemical and metabolic processes to take place in your body; for body fluids like tears, sweat, and urine; to flush toxins out of your vital organs; and to carry nutrients to your cells.

How Much Water Should You Drink?

There’s not one definitive answer to the question:  “How much water should I drink?”  The answer really depends on many things including:

  • your health
  • your age
  • how active you are
  • where you live

For the average healthy adult who lives in a temperate climate, the Institute of Medicine recommends around 3 liters (about 13 cups) of total water intake a day for men and 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of total water intake a day for women.

What’s Total Water Intake?

Total water intake isn’t just plain water. It includes the plain water you drink, the water in all of your other beverages, and the water in your food. All fluids count toward your daily total.

On average, food supplies about 20% of your total water intake. Many fruits and vegetables — like watermelon, grapes, lettuce, and tomatoes — are 90% or more water by weight. Food from grains like oatmeal and pasta are also hydrating because they swell up with water when they’re cooked.  Even meat is full of water.

Beverages like milk and juice are mostly made of water, too. Even beer, wine and caffeinated beverages — coffee, tea or soda — can contribute, but they shouldn’t be the major portion of your daily total fluid intake. Calorie-free and inexpensive water is your best bet.

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