You probably already know that drinking water every day is very important for optimum health. Water is required for nutrient transport, flushing toxins from organs, regulating body temperature, and maintaining pH balance. If you are active or live in a hot climate, it is especially important to be mindful of water intake because dehydration can set in quickly unless you are steadily replenishing water lost to perspiration.
How much water should you be drinking on a regular basis?
You should be drinking enough water that your urine is consistently clear or very pale yellow. If it’s darker than that, drink a pint of water immediately. The average adult living in a temperate climate requires about 100 ounces of water each day — a standard cup is 8 oz, and a U.S. pint is 16 oz – so that would be a little more than 12 small glasses or 6 large glasses of water per day. But not everyone needs the same amount of water — WebMd recommends that you consume ½ an oz to 1 oz of water per pound of bodyweight each day. If you are exercising, or live in a hot climate, you will require more water. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you will also need to drink more water than usual.
It’s important to realize that you can also meet requirements for water by eating soups and water-rich fruits and vegetables (like spinach, tomatoes, and watermelon), or by drinking other beverages containing water. However, your principal beverage should still be water.
How can you fit water requirements into your daily planning?
It’s all too easy to forget to drink water throughout the day, and the harmful effects can quickly impact your mental and physical performance.
Let’s say you require 15 cups —or 120 ounces— of water. Here’s an example of a healthy daily food and drink plan that will help you consume enough water for the day:
- Drink 12 ounces of water shortly after you wake up.
- Have a breakfast of buckwheat and berries topped with a cup of milk. Have a cup of coffee or tea.
- Fill a 32-ounce water bottle before you head out for the day and finish it over the next four hours.
- Drink 12 additional ounces of water about 30 minutes before lunch.
- At lunch, have a turkey sandwich with lots of spinach and tomato. Eat a handful of blueberries and an avocado. Go and refill your water bottle.
- Before you head home, make sure you’ve finished the 32 ounces of water in your bottle.
- Drink 8 ounces of water about 30 minutes before dinner.
- At dinner, have a two-cup serving of black beans, 6 ounces of grilled chicken, and a salad of mixed greens. If you can’t eat that many beans, substitute one or two cups of vegetable soup. Enjoy a cup of green tea if you like green tea.
You’ve just met your requirement with room to spare. The keys to success lie in drinking water regularly throughout the day, a water bottle that can help you reach your goal, and including water-rich foods in your daily menu. If you don’t like just plain water, use your imagination. Squeeze a lemon into your water, or infuse it with cucumber, just make sure you’re drinking that water.
Mayo Clinic: Factors that influence water needs
About.com: 11 Reasons You Need to Drink More Water
WebMD: Water and Your Diet: Staying Slim and Regular With H2O