How much water should I be drinking each day to stay hydrated?

In my opinion, water is one of the most important nutrients that you can consume! Your water needs depend on many factors such as your sex, overall health, total daily activity and environment that you live.

Water comprises approximately 60% of your total body weight. Each of your body’s major systems depend on water; it helps carry essential nutrients to your cells, helps control your body temperature, helps flush out toxins from organs and can help keep your ear, nose, and throat moist. Dehydration can result if your body does not have enough water. Common signs of dehydration include: fatigue, headache, dry mouth, little or no urination, muscle weakness, and dizziness.

Water can be lost in a number of ways: breathing, sweating, urinating and having bowel movements all contribute to your body’s water losses. The average urine output is about 1.5 L per day and you also shed an additional liter through breathing, sweating, and bowel movements. The Institute of Medicine suggests:

Men = consume roughly 3.0 L (13 cups) of total beverages per day Women = consume 2.2 L (9 cups) of total beverages per day

Fluid intake should consist of water, milk, juice, sports drink or other beverages. Generally alcohol and caffeinated beverages are not included in your total daily fluid intake. However, some researchers feel that if you consistently consume caffeinated beverages, these can still “count” given that they do not have the diuretic effect that they would have in someone that does not regularly consume them.

On average, food provides about 20% of total water intake. A diet high in fruits and vegetables can definitely contribute towards “fluid” intake.
There are many factors that influence water needs. For each hour you exercise, you should consume about 2-3 cups of water (depending on how much you sweat). If you live in humid weather or at altitudes of greater than 2,500 meters, it is recommended that you increase your fluid intake. Signs of illness such as diarrhea, vomiting, fever, etc. call for an increased fluid intake. Breastfeeding women should also consume approximately 12.5 cups of fluid a day.

I recommend that people choose water as their #1 fluid source during the day. However, many people want to add a little flavor too so Old Orchard has several great lines of juices that can help you meet your fluid needs throughout the day. Also, milk can be an excellent fluid to consume, as it is high in calcium, vitamin D and protein!

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