Have you wondered if you were drinking enough water? Have you wondered if we all really need to drink 8 cups of water every day? It might come as a surprise to you that there is no standard recommendation for how much water to drink each day because the amount is different for everyone. Depending on your activity level, age, health status, geographic location and body weight, the amount of water that you should be drinking each day differs. For example, someone who is at a higher elevation, will need more water than if that same person was at a lower elevation, and someone exercising will have increased water needs than if they were not active.
While the amount of water each person needs depends on the above factors, as a rule of thumb I recommend drinking half of your body weight measured in pounds, in ounces per day. This would mean that if you weigh 120 pounds, you should aim to drink 60 ounces of water per day.
The CDC defines daily water intake, as the amount of water consumed from foods, plain drinking water and other beverages.
Since water intake includes the foods we eat in addition to what we drink, it is hard to provide an exact recommendation of how much water to drink per day. Many fruits and vegetables are actually high in water and count towards total water intake. Some fruits and vegetables with high water content include watermelon, cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, lettuce, strawberries, and cantaloupe. These foods all contribute to your daily water intake. For example, a 1 cup serving of watermelon is equivalent to a one half cup of water and a 1 cup serving of cucumbers is equivalent to a little less than one half cup of water.
Including fruits and vegetables at each meal and snack and keeping a water bottle with you to drink throughout the day will help you meet your water needs and avoid dehydration. Not only will this help you stay hydrated, but fruits and vegetables are full of important nutrients too! Don’t wait until you are feeling thirsty to start drinking.
It is also important to pay attention to your thirst and urine color. If you find that you are always feeling thirsty, and your urine is not clear, then you are likely not getting enough water. Having 1 cup (8oz) of water with every meal and between meals will provide you with 40 oz of water. Sipping water throughout the day, and eating high water containing fruits and vegetables will make it easy to meet your water needs.
Linzy Ziegelbaum, MS, RD, CDN is a registered dietitian and owner of the private practice LNZnutrition LLC. She provides nutrition counseling and education to clients of all ages with many nutrition needs. Linzy enjoys sharing her love and nutrition expertise with others through counseling, her LNZnutrition blog and social media pages, including Facebook and Instagram.
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