Water: Is 8 enough?
Posted on September 26, 2012
The rule of thumb for staying hydrated has always been “8 x 8” – eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. It's a generalization that's easy to remember, but isn't exactly what experts suggest anymore.
How water does a body good
More than two-thirds of our body consists of water. All of the body's systems depend on water to function, which makes it very important to keep replenishing it.
Water keeps our bodies hydrated in order to:
- Regulate body temperature
- Flush out toxins and eliminate waste
- Carry nutrients to the body's cells
- Maintain blood volume
- Regulate metabolism
- Lubricate joints and body tissue
Water also affects our brain function and energy level. Even mild dehydration has been associated with negative mood, including fatigue and confusion.
How much is enough?
Short answer: it varies. Though, aiming for eight cups of water is a start.
The amount of water you really need each day depends on these factors:
- Weight and gender
- Activity level
- Climate or environment
- Special health circumstances (e.g., illness, pregnancy, breastfeeding)
The Institute of Medicine suggests for daily fluid intake per day for a healthy adult living in a temperate climate is about 13 cups for men and 9 cups for women. But factors like exercising and hot or humid weather make it important to drink more. Consuming 1 ½ cups to 2 ½ cups extra is a good start.
Don't forget the kids
Making sure that children are hydrated is also essential, which a growing concern.
Experts say five to 13 cups of water daily for kids, depending on their age. More, if your child is keeping active.
Anything you drink and eat contributes to how much water you take in each day. The water content of food makes up about 20% of your fluid intake, especially when fruits and vegetables fill your plate.
Coffee and soda count, but that said, drink sparingly. Caffeine dehydrates you, and the sugar in soda is a whole other factor. Milk and fruit juices are better options, but when it comes down to it, water is best. Afterall, it's calorie-free, inexpensive and readily available.
Blogged by Katie Crommett
Reviewed by Patricia McHugh, R.N.