How Much Water …

How Much Water Should You Drink Each Day?

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The question has been asked a thousand times.  Unfortunately, this fairly simple question has no straightforward answer that can be uniformly applied to every person.  Learning more about your body’s need for water however, will help you estimate the right amount of fluids necessary for you to reap the health benefits of staying hydrated.

Roughly two-thirds of the body is made up of water, and for good reason.  Water acts as facilitator for chemical reactions and nutrient transport in the body, flushes out toxins from vital organs, and provides a moist environment for lung, ear, nose, and throat tissue health.  Drinking inadequate amounts of water will result in your body not functioning at its highest potential.  With a hot Florida summer just around the corner, dehydration is a very real threat.  Dehydrations is typically accompanied by headaches and dizziness and can be followed by heat cramps, heat exhaustion and in the most extreme cases, heat stroke.  You can see why it is very important to stay hydrated!

So, how much water do you need to drink?  Multiple factors play into answering this question.  Your amount of physical activity, the altitude, humidity, pregnancy and even the types of food you eat can have an effect on your H2O needs.  Although there is no uniform answer, the Institute of Medicine recommends that for a healthy adult male living in a temperate environment, an adequate intake is roughly 3 liters (about 13 cups) of total water a day.  An adequate intake for a healthy female is around 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of total water a day.  If you are an individual that exercises multiple times a week, then you lose a significant amount of water through sweat or perspiration.  Therefore, it is important to make sure you drink additional fluids to make up for the amount lost.  What about the advice that recommends drinking 8 cups of water a day that you have heard?  8 cups of water translates to about 1.9 liters, just shy of the Institute of Medicine’s recommendation for females.  So, instead of using 8 cups as a standard gauge of how much water you should drink, think of it more as the absolute minimum that should be consumed.

By Jennifer Duncanson

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