How Much Water do I Need to Drink?

by The Know

Water is essential to good health, yet needs vary by individual. These tips can help ensure you drink enough fluids.

How much water should you drink each day?

It’s a simple question with no easy answer. Studies have produced varying recommendations over the years, but in truth, your water needs depend on many factors, including your health, how active you are and even where you live.

Although there isn’t a formula that fits everyone, knowing more about your body’s need for fluids will help you estimate how much water to drink each day.

How does water benefit your health?

Water is your body’s principal chemical component and makes up about 60 percent of your body weight. Every system in your body depends on water. For example, water flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells, and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues.

A lack of water can lead to dehydration, a condition that occurs when you don’t have enough water in your body to carry out normal functions. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired.

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How much water do you actually need?

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 litres) of total beverages a day. The AI for women is about 9 cups (2.2 litres) of total beverages a day.

What about the advice to drink 2L a day?

Everyone has heard the advice, “Drink 2L of water per day.” Although the 2LPD rule isn’t supported by hard evidence, it remains popular because it’s easy to remember. Just keep in mind that the rule should be reframed as: “Drink 2 litres of fluid a day” because all fluids count toward your daily total!

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