How Much Water Should You Drink?

water with fun straws

How can you make every sip count?

Water plays a crucial role in keeping our bodies healthy. When we consume enough water, our bodies are able to control body temperature, help our blood flow, and move important nutrients around! Staying hydrated can also aid in digestion and reduce your risk of developing kidney stones and urinary tract infections.

Daily amount of water varies from day to day, and from person to person! It’s suggested to have about 11.5 to 15.5 cups per day for healthy adults and about 7 to 14 cups per day for healthy kids depending on age, weight, and sex. However, it’s important to remember that we get a lot of fluids (about 20% of daily intake) already from foods we eat, like fruits and vegetables.

 

When can daily water consumption vary for a person?

Everyone’s body naturally loses water throughout the day when sweating and using the restroom. However, there are a few cases when you may need to drink more water in order to stay hydrated.

Some people may need more water:

  • Very active individuals
  • Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Elderly individuals
  • Young children
  • Those with certain health conditions (like congestive heart failure or renal disease)
  • When someone has a serious infections or diarrhea

There are also times when you may need to drink more water:

  • When engaging in long stretches of physical activity (like marathons)
  • At higher altitudes (about 2,400 meters and higher above sea level)
  • When temperatures are hot

Listen to your body and thirst levels to make sure that you are getting enough water throughout the day. Instances of dehydration and overhydration may also require seeking medical attention from a trained healthcare provider. (Overhydration can happen when someone drinks a very large amount of water in a very short period of time. Usually our bodies can handle this by sending us to the restroom more often, however.)

 

How can you motivate yourself to staying hydrated?

There are many ways to promote hydration and make healthy choices throughout the day. An easy way to stay hydrated is to drink water every day.

If you are still worried that you aren’t getting enough daily fluids, try these suggestions to help fight dehydration:

  1. Try healthy beverage alternatives, like carbonated (or sparkling) water, unsweetened tea and coffee, low-fat or fat-free milk and milk alternatives, or healthy smoothies if drinking flat water isn’t always an option or desired.
  2. Drink water throughout the day, with and between meals.
  3. Bring a reusable water bottle and straw to make water the most convenient and more fun choice.
  4. Add taste enhancers, such as slices of citrus or cucumber, pieces of fruit, or fresh mint and basil leaves, to further add flavor to your tall glass of water.

 

For more information on water, like the difference between bottled and tap water or the benefits and risks associated with sports drinks, alkaline water, and raw water, visit the Center for Nutrition in Schools’ Nutrition and Health Info Sheet.

For kid friendly (and adult-friendly) water recipes like Strawberry-Pineapple Lemonade, Cucumber, Lime & Mint Water, or Melon Cooler, visit the California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) webpage.

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