I’m sure you’ve heard that you should aim for eight glasses of water each day but this is sometimes too much or too little for your body’s hydration needs. I could do a bunch of different calculations to find out your fluid needs but it varies depending on your age, activity levels, sweat, health, digestion, diet and stage of life (pregnant, breast-feeding, elderly, etc.).
The general recommendation for adequate hydration for an adult is 30 to 40 milliliters of fluid per kilogram of body weight each day. For example, a 30-year-old woman who weighs 150 pounds would need 2,400 milliliters of fluid per day or around 10 cups. If you think 10 cups of water sounds difficult to drink each day, don’t worry; this fluid recommendation includes the amount of liquid you are consuming from hydrating foods such as fruits and vegetables.
The easiest way to tell if you are dehydrated is to monitor your urine. Ideally, your urine should be a light yellow or lemonade color and it should not have a strong odor. If your urine is dark yellow and has a concentrated smell, you’re already dehydrated and it’s time to drink some water.
Why Do Our Bodies Need Water?
Between 50 to 70 percent of our body weight is fluid. Our bodies need water to perform a variety of functions that are critical to our survival including:
- Dissolving and transporting substances throughout our body
- Keeping our cells alive
- Maintaining healthy blood volume
- Regulating body temperature
- Protecting and lubricating major organs and tissues
Water is one of the best drinks to have to stay adequately hydrated. It doesn’t have any extra ingredients and can help your oral health as well! Drinking water after meals or snacks can help reduce the amount of plaque build up on your teeth and gums. You can also increase your fluid intake by consuming a variety of beverages that you enjoy including juice, milk, seltzer, sports drinks, tea, coffee and soda but just remember that these beverages contribute to your total energy intake during the day.
Foods can also be a great source of fluid in your diet! Try adding hydrating foods such as fruits and vegetables to your meals and snacks to help you meet your fluid needs. If you’re not a super fan of water, you can enhance the flavor of your water by infusing it with fruit, herbs and spices. I really enjoy adding cucumber slices and mint to my water for a refreshing boost of flavor! The best way to stay adequately hydrated throughout the day is to keep a water bottle with you at all times.