The Truth About How Much Water You Should Drink Daily For Good Health

The Truth About How Much Water You Should Drink Daily For Good Health

by Sally Walters

Despite everything we know about the benefits of drinking water, nearly half of American adults drink less than four cups of water on a daily basis. So let’s see how much water you should drink daily for good health. And what really happens when you don't get enough.

How Much Water You Should Drink Daily for Good Health

The benefits of drinking (enough) water 

It is a known fact that up to 70% of the human adult body is water. Drinking enough water every day is essential for basically everything from maintaining a healthy weight to flushing toxins out the body. Find out how drinking water helps you improve your lifestyle below.

Improves energy levels and brain function

Water not only helps our body, but also feeds our brain. Water is required by every cell in the body and important for all bodily functions. It helps transport oxygen and nutrients critical to the brain for optimal function, whilst providing cushioning and lubrication to the brain tissue.

In a study in young women, researchers found that fluid loss of 1.4% after exercise impaired both mood and concentration. It also increased the frequency of headaches. Many members of this same research team conducted a similar study in young men. They found that fluid loss of 1.6% was detrimental to working memory and increased feelings of anxiety and fatigue.

Can aid weight loss

Some evidence suggests that increasing water intake can promote weight loss by slightly increasing your metabolism, which can increase the number of calories you burn on a daily basis. Drinking water a half an hour before meals is the most effective. It can make you feel more full so that you eat fewer calories.

Can help prevent health problems

Drinking water can prevent dehydration, a condition that can cause unclear thinking, mood changes, cause your body to overheat, and lead to constipation and kidney stones

Improves skin complexion

Drinking water is the best and most simple anti-aging treatment around! It moisturizes your skin, keeps it fresh, soft, glowing and smooth, and can even prevent wrinkles.

How much water you should drink per day  

On average, experts usually recommend drinking 67 ounces (2L) per day. In fact, the recommended fluid intake varies depending on multiple factors such as gender, age, weight and activity level.

How to determine your recommended daily water intake

It might seem weird, but there’s an actual formula for how much water you should drink on a daily basis. Let’s break it down into 3 simple steps.

Weight: The first step to calculating the minimum water requirement for the human body is knowing your weight. A two hundred pound man and 100 pound woman require different amounts of water every day.

Multiply by ⅔: Next you want to multiply your weight by two-thirds (or 67%) to determine how much water to drink daily. 

Activity level: Finally, you will want to adjust that number based on how often you work out. Add 12 ounces of water to your daily total for every 30 minutes that you work out. So if you work out for 45 minutes daily, you would add 18 ounces of water to your daily intake.

Can you drink too much water?

Everything in excess is harmful at some point - even drinking water. Yes, there is such a thing as drinking too much water and it’s called overhydration. When you drink too much water, your kidneys can't get rid of the excess water. This can dilute the sodium in the blood and cause serious harm such as headaches, nausea, and vomiting.

Can you drink too much water?

What happens if you don’t drink enough water

As you “lose” body water without replacing it, your blood becomes more concentrated and, at a point, triggers your kidneys to retain water. Failing to drink enough water can cause dehydration and adverse symptoms, including fatigue, headache, weakened immunity, dry skin, and even weight gain. This eventually gives way to grumpiness, and mental and physical decline.

How can you tell if you’re not drinking enough water

In a healthy person, your urine is a good indicator of your hydration status. Pale yellow urine that looks like lemonade is a good goal. Darker urine means you need more water. Colorless urine means you are overhydrated.

Other signs that indicate you may need to start drinking more water to improve your health are persistent bad breath, fatigue, frequent illness, constipation, poor skin health, and sugar cravings.

Why you never feel thirsty

Thirst is one way your body alerts you to drink more fluid. It might not make sense, but sometimes you can become dehydrated without feeling thirsty.

Why is this?

While it is true that everybody’s need for water is different based upon what they eat and what they do throughout the day, never feeling thirsty is an extremely important issue that is frequently overlooked. Most of the time, our lives are filled with distractions that knock us off our natural drinking cycle. Drinking other liquids such as coffee or sodas can diminish the need to drink water. But you can still be dehydrated. Another explanation for oppressing your thirst is that you retain water. This causes someone to become unable to feel thirst.

If you do have signs of dehydration (please see above), use this trick: get one small cup or shot glass. Fill that cup up with water and drink 3-5 shots in quick succession, one right after the other. Wait 30 minutes, then do it again. Do it in the mornings and in the evenings. Follow this routine for a week, and you’ll notice how your thirst mechanism starts functioning in full order.

Are other liquids substitute for water?

Water is natural, readily available, and, unlike many other beverages, water is calorie-free. All beverages containing water contribute towards your daily needs. Non-alcoholic fluids, including tea, coffee and fruit juice, all count towards your fluid intake. Mistakenly, lots of people believe that tea and coffee dehydrate you. In fact, under 400 mg a day of caffeine, caffeine-containing drinks don't dehydrate you and can count towards your daily fluid intake. 

How can you make sure you get your daily fluid intake 

The best thing you can do is get into the habit of drinking one glass (16 oz) of water when you wake up and another glass before you go to sleep every night. This will automatically add water to your daily intake.

However, remembering to drink water during the day when you are busy and your focus is on everything else is the tricky part. Luckily, there are plenty of mobile apps available that can help you stay on track. Simply input your data and daily goals, and set reminders to control your drinking schedule.

This being said, make sure that you get enough water each day, whether your personal goal differs. It’s one of the best things you can do for your overall health.

If you’re interested in more tips on how to improve your lifestyle, read our 5 Everyday Habits for a Healthy Life article.