Just How Much Water Does the Body Good?

Water isn’t just something we need; it’s a part of us. Water makes up approximately 50 to 70 percent of our body weight, according to the Mayo Clinic. The water you take in each day

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Glass of water isolated on white background with wave surface level

• promotes the elimination of toxins through sweat, urine, and bowel movements;

• keeps joints lubricated;

• regulates body temperature;

• helps to digest food;

• helps to deliver oxygen throughout the body.

With all that riding on your water intake, how much exactly do you need? If you adhere to the commonly touted advice of eight eight-ounce glasses of water a day, you may not be getting enough.

According to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, women need, on average, 91 ounces, significantly more than the 64 ounces in the eight glasses of water. If you get a lot of exercise or live in a hot climate, you may need even more in order to compensate for the water that leaves your body through sweat. Note that men, on average, need more water than women—approximately 125 ounces a day.

However, Megan Schimpf, MD, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Michigan Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital, wrote that some people may need less water than what is recommended, so the best advice is to let your thirst and body be your guide.

If the idea of chugging down five to six 16.9-ounce bottles of water leaves your eyes glazed over, the good news is you don’t have to get all of your water intake through water itself. About 20 percent of the water your body takes in comes from the foods you eat. For the other 80 percent, you can get the water you need by drinking other beverages, such as herbal tea, juice, milk, and even caffeinated beverages like coffee and soda (in moderation and without sugar). Water is your healthiest option, but vegetable juice can also count toward your vegetable servings during the day, and green tea is believed to help lower cholesterol, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Increase your water intake if you notice any of the following signs of dehydration:

• Extreme thirst

• Urine that is dark colored rather than clear

• Fatigue

• Dizziness

• Confusion

• Less frequent urge to urinate

Something else to keep in mind: While beverage companies have made it easier to grab a plastic bottle of water off a shelf, that plastic can leach into our sewage system and waterways. Buy a colorful BPA-free reusable water bottle, fill it from your tap (yes, in most of the country, tap water is safe), and go!



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