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As a health consultant, I am often asked the question, "How do I know if I am drinking enough water?"
It’s not a simple answer because it depends on many factors, including weight, gender, stress levels, health condition, and how much and how often you exercise.
There are a number of different methods for determining if your daily water intake is sufficient.
The method I have found to be the most accurate for the average healthy adult living in a moderate climate is this:
Drink Half Your Body Weight in Ounces of Water Daily
In other words, if you weigh 180 lbs., you would want to drink about 90 ounces of water (roughly 3 quarts or 3 liters) to start to re-hydrate your body.
I know that sounds like a lot of water. In fact, it took me several months to get to where I could comfortably drink half my body weight in ounces of water daily.
But the results are worth it. Proper hydration will significantly improve every function in your body.
The main reason I recommend this approach for determining how much water to drink is because I know from personal and professional experience that it works.
The most significant benefit I experienced when re-hydrating my body was unexpected. I didn’t have any major health issues at the time, so I didn’t expect any dramatic changes.
However, what I experienced was that as I committed to drinking at least half my body weight in ounces of water, my lifelong allergies disappeared within a period of about six to nine months.
After trying numerous diets, supplements and treatments for allergies over the years, I had completely given up on trying to get rid of them.
I was resigned to just having seasonal allergy symptoms for the rest of my life. So this change was definitely an unexpected benefit.
I had also just started drinking ionized, alkaline water that hydrates the body much more readily than regular tap, well, bottled, purified, or filtered water.
However, the type of water you drink should not be the ultimate determinate in drinking enough water daily—as long as the water is safe to drink.
People tell me all the time that they drink “plenty of fluids” or “lots of water.” However, when I encourage them to actually measure it, they are surprised to find how little water they are actually drinking.
I think this is mainly because most of us have become accustomed to drinking other beverages (besides water) and assume that we are getting plenty of fluids.
However, drinking other fluids does not take the place of water. Water is water and it is irreplaceable in the body for many reasons.
We do get some fluid intake from food, primarily fresh fruits and vegetables. But even with a diet abundant in fruits and vegetables, food will only count for about 20 percent of your total fluid intake.
In addition, there are a number of things that influence your daily water intake needs. For example, a few of the instances in which water intake should be increased include:
Set a goal.
Drink half your body weight in ounces of water daily. Commit to this goal for at least 6 months and then evaluate any changes in your health.
Get a quart or liter water bottle or jar (preferably glass) to keep track of your water consumption. Trying to keep track of daily water intake by counting 8 oz. glasses of water simply doesn’t work for most people. Keeping track of quarts or liters is much easier. A quart/liter equals approximately four 8 oz. glasses.
Taste is good.
Find a drinking water that tastes good to you. Yes, different waters taste better. In the beginning, it’s ok to add a little lemon to your water if it helps.
Fill water bottles.
Take a refillable water bottle or thermos wherever you go. When I know I am going to be traveling by car for several hours or days, I like to fill a 3 or 5 gallon Igloo thermos with filtered drinking water.
Get a portable water purifier bottle.
Traveling by plane? Take an empty water bottle through security and then fill it up at the nearest drinking fountain. (Tap water from drinking fountains is not the best water to drink, but it beats no water at all. In addition, the bottled water in airports is ridiculously expensive and most of it is just bottled tap water anyway!)
The best option for traveling, especially if you travel a lot, is to invest in a portable water filter bottle. I like the Sport Berkey Portable Water Purifier but there are many others to choose from at Amazon.com, ranging in price from about $20 to $100.
Be patient and persistent.
If you have suffered chronic dehydration, it can take weeks, months, or even years to fully re-hydrate your body. How quickly the body re-hydrates will depend a lot on many factors, including your diet and lifestyle, as well as the type of water you drink.
Harvard Health Publishing; How Much Water Should You Drink? 2016.
Further reading . . .
Drinking Too Much Water Too Fast Can Be Dangerous
Drinking Enough Water Facts
How Much Water to Drink
Daily Water Intake - You're Not Sick, You're Thirsty
Excessive Water Drinking and Hyponatremia
Return from Drinking Enough Water to Water Benefits Health Home
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FINALLY!!! I have been wondering about this for years with no 'solid' answer. This is exactly what I've been wanting to know! Thank you for this share..." by Andy
"Thank you for the information, Nancy. I appreciate it. Your article and findings are very helpful, referring to dehydration." - Carolyn
"Lemon water is one drink both my wife and I can't drink. It upsets our stomachs. We are in our sixties and in very good health—well, better health now that we drink about 2 liters plus of water each day. It has made so much difference to our digestive systems and recovery every day. Thank you for your website and effort." - Rod