You’ve probably heard the advice to drink eight glasses of water a day. Is it true that we need that much hydration? Let’s investigate.
Research from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine indicates that adequate daily fluid intake is around 15.5 cups (3.7 liters or 125 ounces) of fluids for men and around 11.5 cups (2.7 liters or 91 ounces) of fluids for women. This number includes all fluids consumed in a day – from water, other beverages, and food.
Around 20% of the fluid we need each day comes from food (think soups, veggies, fruits, and more), which leaves 12.5 cups of fluid that men should consume and 9.1 cups for women.
Reasons Your Water Needs May Differ
It’s important to keep in mind that these figures are based on average height, weight, and activity levels. Your individual needs can vary considerably from this number. For example, a 6’3” female basketball player might need a lot more water, while a 5’2” male who sits at a desk all day could need less. The main reasons you may need more fluids include:
- Exercise: If you work out, it is important to replace the fluid you lose through sweating. If you do shorter (less than 60 minutes) and less intense activities, you may not need much extra water. However, if you do intense exercise, exercise for longer than an hour, or tend to sweat heavily, you should be careful to drink plenty of water before, during, and after your workout.
If your workout lasts more than an hour at an intense level or in hot conditions, you may also need extra electrolytes (minerals) to replace the ones you lose through sweating. Sports drinks contain electrolytes, but you can also get them from a pinch of salt and a banana. Don’t forget that activities you may not think of as exercise, such as gardening or walking a long way as a tourist in a new city, can also increase your hydration needs.
- Weather and Environment: When it is hot or humid out, you sweat more and need to replace the fluids you lose. High altitudes can also cause dehydration because you breathe faster as the altitude increases (and oxygen decreases), causing you to lose extra water through respiration.
- Your Health: A variety of illnesses can increase your need for fluids. For example, any time you lose fluid through vomiting or diarrhea, it is essential to rehydrate. Fever also causes dehydration, and bladder infections and kidney stones may also require additional fluid intake. Some medications for edema, kidney problems, heart problems, liver failure, and glaucoma can also increase your need for fluids.
- Pregnancy or Breastfeeding: During these times, you are drinking for two, so it is important to stay hydrated.
Whether or not you fit in one of these categories, if you feel thirsty during the day, be sure to drink up. For most people, thirst is the best indicator of hydration status.
Did you know that you can hydrate yourself while boosting your overall wellness? Hydrate for health with Life Enzyme from Orgaanics. It contains 150 fermented fruits, vegetables, and herbs in one glass. Now that’s an impressive way to hydrate!