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How much water do you need per day?

Written and medically reviewed by Dorcas Morak, Pharm.D

Updated on March 22nd, 2023

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Your health, activity level, and where you live are all factors in how much water you need to stay healthy. On average, it’s recommended that adult men aim for 15.5 cups per day and women aim for 11.5 cups per day. That said, other beverages can contribute to this intake and about 20% of your needed fluids come from food.

What are the essential functions of water?

Some essential functions of water include:

  • Weight loss: Water is essential for weight loss. It helps your body function properly, helps curb cravings, and supports your ability to sense hunger cues. Without drinking enough water, despite working out and dieting, you may not lose weight. A study showed drinking 2 liters of water per day resulted in a loss of 96 calories daily.

  • Digestion: Water helps in the digestion of soluble fibers. It is also an essential component of digestion media, such as saliva.

  • Heart health: Water prevents thickening of the blood, which in the worst cases can cause heart attack, increase blood pressure, and predisposes you to heart disease.

  • Prevention of dehydration from diabetes: People with diabetes tend to lose water faster and become dehydrated. Dehydration in diabetics can cause indigestion and a drop in blood pressure, among other complications.

How do I know if I’m drinking enough for my needs?

A good rule of thumb is to aim for 6 to 8 glasses of water per day (8 oz each). If you’re rarely thirsty and have light-colored urine, you are probably hydrated enough. To avoid dehydration, try to get most of your fluids from water, be sure to drink more when active or in warmer weather, and choose foods with high water content, like spinach and watermelon.

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