Tip #13: Drink More Water
We have all heard the usual rule of thumb of drinking 8 glasses of water per day. The truth is that many of us struggle to get that much in a day. Would you be surprised if I told you that in all likelihood you require a lot more? So how much should you aim for? The Institute of Medicine recommends the following amounts:
1-8 years of age ------------- average of 50 oz/day (1.5 liters/day)
9-13 years of age ----------- average of 73 oz/day (2.2 liters/day)
14-18 years of age ---------- average of 110 oz (3.3 liters/day)
19 years of age or more --- average of 125 oz (3.7 liters/day)
14-18 years of age ---------- average of 77 oz (2.3 liters/day)
19 years of age or more --- average of 90 oz (2.7 liters/day)
pregnant ----------------------- average of 100 oz (3 liters/day)
nursing ------------------------- average of 127 oz (3.8 liters/day)
These numbers are just guidelines. Your body will increase its fluid needs in extreme conditions – hot or cold, with exercise and if you are sick with a fever or vomiting/diarrhea.
It is important to remember that when we mention fluid goals, we are not just talking about water. Fluid from milk, soups, fruit juices and even caffeinated beverages count too. Actually, foods provide us with some fluid as well. At the same time, water is the best hydration for most of us. Unless you are sick or exercising for periods of time longer than an hour plain water will do the work for you!
Our bodies loose at least 2.5 quarts (80 oz) of fluid in a day through bodily functions such as perspiration, urination, stooling, skin evaporation, breathing, etc. If your output is more than your input you risk dehydration. A good way to test if you are hydrating appropriately is to check your urine color when you wake up in the morning. Your goal is to have a pale yellow output (think lemonade color) and avoid darker colored urine (think apple juice).
For many drinking water is not as easy. Life gets busy, you prefer flavored beverages, you don’t have access to it, you forget, etc. Here are some pointers to make drinking water much easier!
- Take water breaks during the day.
- Have a water cup or bottle near you at all times! Some suggestions: at your desk, in your car, on your nightstand, in your purse, on walks, everywhere!
- Consider setting an alarm to remind you to drink water (hey, whatever it takes, right?)
- Set a rule for yourself. For example, I will drink water every time my phone rings or every time someone calls your name. You get the idea, get creative.
- Flavor it with herbs, fruits or vegetables. Think cucumbers, limes or lemons, oranges, strawberries, mint or rosemary. I bet you can come up with some other delicious ideas!
- Choose water when eating out. It will save you money and calories.
- Have a glass of water when you wake up, before each meal and snack (this helps with weight management too) and before you go to bed.
- Drink extra if you are active!
Pour a glass of water and cheers to good health!
March is National Nutrition Month! We have committed to do 14 blog posts that tackle an important topic in food and nutrition. To see all the posts we have done including some from previous years, click on “National Nutrition Month” under blog category.
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