How much water should you drink a day? How much is “a lot”? How much is “enough”? It’s a simple question with no easy answers.
Water is essential to good health, yet needs vary by individual. These guidelines can help ensure you drink enough fluids.
Health benefits of water
Water is your body’s principal chemical component and makes up about 60 percent of your body weight. Every system in your body depends on water. For example, water flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells, and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues.
Lack of water can lead to dehydration, a condition that occurs when you don’t have enough water in your body to carry out normal functions. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired.
How much water do you need?
General rule of thumb
We are often told that we need to drink at least eight glasses of water a day. How do we derive at eight glasses? How much is a glass? Does this apply to everybody?
As a general guide, here’s a simple formula to work out the minimum amount of water you should drink a day:
Half of your body weight in pounds (lb) convert to oz, divide by 8 oz (approx. 230 ml) per glass.
Your body weight = 160 lb
Halve it = 160 / 2 = 80 lb
Replace “lb” with “oz” = 80 oz
So how much is that if you split the amount into glasses of 8 oz each, to be drunk throughout the day?
80 oz / 8 = 10 glasses
This means, the heavier your body weight, the more water you will need. This is the minimum amount of water you need to drink in a day.
Factors that influence water needs
- Exercise: The more you exercise, the more water you will need to drink to keep hydrated. On top of your minimum requirement, an extra one or two (8-oz) glasses for every hour of exercise should be sufficient.
- Environment: In hot and humid weather which causes you more perspiration and urination, drink additional glasses of water to replenish loss of moisture and to keep hydrated.
- Illnesses or health conditions: When there is fever, vomiting or diarrhea, your body loses water which needs to be replenished with rehydration solutions. Other health conditions like urinary tract or bladder infections may also require you to drink more.
- Pregnancy or nursing mothers: For pregnant women, the above formula applies, to include the weight of her pregnancy. For nursing mothers, endeavour to drink at least two to three glasses (8-oz) more a day, on top of your minimum requirement.
How to get more from the water you drink
The best time to drink your water is during the first half of the day and less nearer to bed time. To get more from the water you drink, there are some ingredients you can add that can help with your overall health:
- A teaspoon of apple cider vinegar or a tablespoon of vinegar honey to a glass of water to break down fats. It also helps to keep your blood pressure in check.
- Squeeze half a lemon into a glass of water to be drunk once a day. Lemon water aids digestion and waste elimination, thus controlling constipation and diarrhea. It also helps relieve heartburn, bloating and belching. It has many other health benefits and alkalizes the body.
- Stir in a pinch of sea salt for every 8 oz of water you drink. Sea salt has over 80 types of natural mineral that are beneficial for our body and helps aid many health conditions, including clearing the lungs of excessive mucus and preventing muscle cramps. Unlike table salt, it actually helps reduce blood pressure. Sea salt is live salt, it doesn’t make you thirsty.