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How much water do I need to drink everyday?

If you’re a regular here, you know that Fooducate preaches the virtues of water almost daily. A question many people ask us, is how much water they should be drinking. The answer is much more complicated than the question, but we will try to simplify.

Our body is 60 percent water. There is almost no chemical reaction in the body that doesn’t require water. The body loses water through the following processes:

urination

bowel movements

perspiration

breathing

breastfeeding

Therefore the body needs to replenish its water supply to function properly. This can be by achieved through

drinking water

drinking other beverages

eating foods that are high in water content such as fruits and vegetables.

The Institute of Medicine determined that, in most cases, letting thirst be your guide is the best bet when it comes to water intake. However, the organization did define an adequate intake (AI) of water per person, per day to be:

for women – approximately 2.7 liters (91 ounces / 11 cups) of water, from all sources

for men – approximately 3.7 liters (125 ounces / 15 cups ) of water, from all sources.

About 80% of our water is derived from beverages, and the rest from food. Translating that information, the actual cups of water to drink should be

for women – approximately 8 cups of water.

for men – approximately 12 cups of water.

Factors that can influence your need for water:

Prolonged physical activity

Prolonged exposure to heat

Prolonged exposure to cold

Illness where the body loses lots of fluids

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

It is possible to overdose on water if you drink too much of it. Hyponatremia is a life -threatening condition where the electrolytes in the body are at a very low level as a result of excessive water intake – 5 to 10 times the amount prescribed as adequate intake.

In summary, the body is quite good at letting you know when you need to drink using thirst as a cue. However, drinking regularly throughout the day can be helpful in combating fake hunger pangs, maintaining alertness, improving your mood, and socializing with colleagues at the water cooler.

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