Think through your day and estimate how much water you drink. Two glasses? Three or four? Nearly four out of every five Americans get less than the advised amount.
The basic recommended daily amount is 64 ounces, or eight, 8-ounce cups. (Determining the exact amount of fluid you need each day depends on several factors including activity level, climate, health status, etc.)
Water is absolutely necessary to the body. Up to 60% of the human body is water, the brain is composed of 70% water, and the lungs are nearly 90% water. Lean muscle tissue contains about 75% water weight, as does the brain; body fat contains 10% water; and, bone has 22% water. About 83% of our blood is water, which helps digest our food, transport waste, and control body temperature.
Water has many roles and benefits. It aids bodily functions such as digestion, nutrient absorption and transportation, circulation, and regulation of body temperature. Water also flushes out toxins, helping your skin glow and keeping you disease-free. Lastly, water helps maintain normal bowel function and helps energize muscles.
One organ that relies heavily on water is the kidney. When our bodies become dehydrated, it takes a toll on our kidneys, which are responsible for filtering upwards of 200 quarts of fluid a day. Water is vital for helping initially dissolve nutrients and ensuring that by-products do not build up in the kidneys. If build-up occurs, there is a higher likelihood of excess bacteria and proteins that result in kidney stones or dangerous infection. By staying well hydrated, it helps the kidneys to stay clean.
Thus, drinking enough water is critical to your health. Here are some methods for making water-drinking part of your regular routine:
- Splurge a little on a nice water bottle, one that you really like, and carry it around with you and fill up at drinking fountains.
- Sip on a glass of water as you do “mindless activities” such as watching TV or working on the computer.
- Start and end your day with a large glass of water. In the morning this will jump start your digestive system, and at night it will help cleanse your system.
- Always take a water bottle with you when you work out.
- Drink a glass of water at every meal.
- Add a wedge of lemon or lime to add flavor without added calories.
- Avoid soda and alcohol—they counteract hydration.
- Zelman, Kathleen M. Web MD. “6 Reasons to Drink Water.” WebMD, May 8, 2008.
- The USGS Water Science School. “The Water in You.” USGS: Science for a Changing World, August 9, 2013.
- McIntosh, James. “Why is drinking water important? How much water should you drink?”. Medical News Today. March 12, 2015.