Water plays many critical roles in maintaining our health and wellbeing. Fluid in the body accounts for approximately 60% of total body weight. Many people are quick to rehydrate after exercising or when temperatures rise. However, adequate fluid intake is important throughout the day, even if there is not significant water loss. Did you know that we excrete about 2 cups per day in urine and lose additional fluid as vapor from breathing? Remember to drink fluids when sick as well, to reduce the risk of dehydration!
Recommendations for water intake vary based on age and sex. Pregnancy, breastfeeding, and health status also influence recommended daily fluid intake. According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, children aged 1-3 years should consume 1.3 liters/day (approximately 5.5 cups) and children aged 4-8 years should consume 1.7 liters/day (approximately 7 cups). The recommendation for adult males is 3.7 liters/day (approximately 15.5 cups) and the recommendation for adult females is 2.7 liters per day (approximately 11.5 cups). Individuals living in warmer climates or who engage in regular physical activity may require more. This may seem like a lot of water, but when the water content of fruits, vegetables, and other foods are also taken into account, fluid intake can add up quickly. In fact, some fruits and vegetable are up to 90% water!
Benefits of Drinking Water
Water is essential to maintaining proper body function. Water helps:
- Regulate body temperature through the evaporation of sweat
- Cushion and lubricate joints
- Dissolve various vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and a variety of other molecules that support metabolic activities
- Distribute oxygen and nutrients throughout your cells and move waste products out of the body
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016). Get the facts: Drinking water and intake. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/nutrition/index.html
Harvard Health Publishing School. (2018). How much water should you drink? Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-much-water-should-you-drink
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. (2019). Dietary reference intakes for sodium and potassium. Washington, D.C: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25353
USDA Choose My Plate. (2016). 10 Tips: Make better beverage choices. Retrieved from https://www.choosemyplate.gov/ten-tips-make-better-beverage-choices
Whitney, E. & Rolfes, S. R. (2011). Understanding nutrition (12th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.