Water – How Much Do I Really Need to Drink?

Water is essential for life. You can only survive a few days without it. And being hydrated is essential for health. I could argue that water is the most essential nutrient of them all. Water is needed for every cell and function in your body.

Water is a huge part of your blood; it cushions your joints and aids digestion. It helps stabilize your blood pressure and heart beat. It helps to regulate your body temperature and helps maintain electrolyte (mineral) balance. And that’s just a few of its roles.

Dehydration can impair mood and concentration, and contribute to headaches and dizziness. It can reduce your physical endurance, and increase the risk for kidney stones and constipation. Extreme dehydration can cause heat stroke.

So, water is critical for life and health.

But, just as way too little water is life-threatening, so is way too much. As with most things in health and wellness, there is a healthy balance to be reached.

But, there are conflicting opinions as to how much water to drink. Is there a magic number for everyone? What counts toward water intake?

Let’s dive right in.

 

HOW MUCH WATER DO I NEED?

 

Once upon a time, there was a magic number called “8x8.” This was the recommendation to drink eight-8 oz glasses of water every day; that’s about 2 litres of water.

Over time, we’ve realized that imposing this external “one size fits all” rule may not be the best approach. Now, many health professionals recommend drinking according to thirst. You don’t need to go overboard forcing down glasses of water when you’re not thirsty. Just pay attention to your thirst mechanism. We have complex hormonal and neurological processes that are constantly monitoring how hydrated we are. And for healthy adults, this system is very reliable.

Besides thirst, pay attention to how dark and concentrated your urine is. The darker your urine, the more effort your body is making to hold on to the water it has. Urine is still getting rid of the waste, but in a smaller volume of water, so it looks darker.

There are a few other things to consider when evaluating your hydration status. If you’re sweating a lot, or are in a hot/humid climate drink more. Breastfeeding moms, elderly people, and people at risk of kidney stones need to drink more water too. So do people who experience vomiting and/or diarrhea, as both can quickly dehydrate our bodies.

So, ditch the “one size fits all” external rule, and pay more attention to your body’s subtle cues for water.

 

WHAT COUNTS TOWARD MY WATER INTAKE?

 

All fluids and foods containing water contribute to your daily needs.

Water is usually the best choice. If you’re not drinking pure water, consider the effects that the other ingredients have on your body. Drinks containing sugar, alcohol, and caffeine will have effects besides hydration. Sugar can mess with your blood sugar balance. Alcohol can make you feel “buzzed.” And caffeine can keep you awake. Let’s talk a bit more about caffeine for a second.

Caffeine is the infamous “dehydrator,” right? Well, not so much. If you take high dose caffeine pills, then sure, they cause fluid loss. But the idea that coffee and tea don’t count toward your water intake is an old myth. While caffeine may make you have to go to the bathroom more, that effect isn’t strong enough to negate the hydrating effects of its water. Plus, if you’re tolerant to it (i.e., regularly drink it) then the effect is even smaller. So, you don’t need to counteract your daily cup(s) of coffee and/or tea.

Also, many foods contain significant amounts of water. Especially fruits and vegetables like cabbage, cantaloupe, watermelon, strawberries, celery, spinach, lettuce, apples, pears, oranges, grapes, carrots, and pineapple. These foods are over 80% water, so they are good sources of hydration.

So, you don’t need to count your plain water intake as your only source of hydration. All fluids and foods with water count.

 

CONCLUSION

 

There is no magic number of the amount of water you need. Everyone is different. Children, pregnant women, elderly people need more. Episodes of vomiting or diarrhea will also increase your short-term need for more water. The most important thing is to pay attention to your thirst. Other signs you need more water are dark urine, sweating, constipation, and kidney stones.

Water is your best source of fluids. But other liquids, including caffeinated ones, help too. Just consider the effects the other ingredients have on your health as well. And many fruits and vegetables are over 80% water so don’t forget about them.

Let me know in the comments: What’s your favourite way to hydrate?

 

RECIPE (HYDRATION): TASTY HYDRATING TEAS

You may not love the taste (or lack thereof) of plain water. One thing you can do is add some sliced or frozen fruit to your water.

Since we learned that you could hydrate just as well with other water-containing beverages, here are some of my favourite herbal teas you can drink hot or cold.

  • Hibiscus
  • Lemon
  • Peppermint
  • Rooibos
  • Chamomile
  • Lavender
  • Ginger
  • Lemon Balm
  • Rose Hips
  • Lemon Verbena

 

 

INSTRUCTIONS

Hot tea – Place tea bags in a pot (1 per cup) and add boiling water. Steep for 5 minutes and add a touch of honey and slice of lemon, if desired. Serve.

Iced tea – Place tea bags in a pot (2 per cup) and add boiling water. Steep for 5 minutes and add a touch of honey, if desired. Chill. Add ice to a glass and fill with cold tea.

TIP: Freeze berries in your ice cubes to make your iced tea more beautiful and nutritious.

Serve & enjoy!

 

References:

https://authoritynutrition.com/how-much-water-should-you-drink-per-day/

http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/water-water-everywhere-2016110310577

http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-much-water-should-you-drink

http://neurotrition.ca/blog/why-you-should-raise-your-glass-water

About Me


Hi, I’m Tracy! I create food solutions to feed your life goals. I’m a Nutritionist, chocoholic + superhero fan. Mom to three, wife to one, crazy about all four, and food! When you work with me you’ll learn to savour life and nourish all that it has to offer.

The Culinary Nutrition Expert Program

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1 day ago

Tracy Houle Nutrition
I’m not saying be perfect in what you eat!

Did you read my blog post about Creating A Mindset For Health?

https://tracyhoule.com/health_mindset/

But, our modern, inflammatory, convenience foods seem to be the go-to most days when it used to be home cooked meals most days with convenience foods sometimes.

Ya, I ordered pizza and bought chips and sweet treats for my daughters birthday party, her request. And I didn’t think twice.

To a certain degree our bodies are suppose to be able to deal with some toxic load, but if you experience ANY symptoms - you’ve reached your toxic load capacity!

I’m not trying to “balance” here. I’m trying to do my best, for me and my family, on as many days as I can.

But since this household is thriving, I chose convenience with less nutrient dense foods, in the hopes that my day to day effort will trump these rare occasions. And I feel like I need to be honest about the fact that it’s not perfect in this nutrition-mom household.

I help folks create the space in their lives for day-to-day health, and reverse the damage caused by toxic load through food, and uncover the emotional connections to our eating habits so that they can feel comfortable and habituated with food choices and never guilt!

DM me if you want to learn more!
.
.
#compassion #forself #nutritionist #functionalfoods #foodforthought #mindbodyeatingcoach #anxiety #eatingpsychology #food #pizza #convenience #partytime #girls #mindbodynutrition #commitment  @ Oakville, OntarioImage attachment

I’m not saying be perfect in what you eat!

Did you read my blog post about Creating A Mindset For Health?

tracyhoule.com/health_mindset/

But, our modern, inflammatory, convenience foods seem to be the go-to most days when it used to be home cooked meals most days with convenience foods sometimes.

Ya, I ordered pizza and bought chips and sweet treats for my daughters birthday party, her request. And I didn’t think twice.

To a certain degree our bodies are suppose to be able to deal with some toxic load, but if you experience ANY symptoms - you’ve reached your toxic load capacity!

I’m not trying to “balance” here. I’m trying to do my best, for me and my family, on as many days as I can.

But since this household is thriving, I chose convenience with less nutrient dense foods, in the hopes that my day to day effort will trump these rare occasions. And I feel like I need to be honest about the fact that it’s not perfect in this nutrition-mom household.

I help folks create the space in their lives for day-to-day health, and reverse the damage caused by toxic load through food, and uncover the emotional connections to our eating habits so that they can feel comfortable and habituated with food choices and never guilt!

DM me if you want to learn more!
.
.
#compassion #forself #nutritionist #functionalfoods #foodforthought #mindbodyeatingcoach #anxiety #eatingpsychology #food #pizza #convenience #partytime #girls #mindbodynutrition #commitment @ Oakville, Ontario
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Comment on Facebook

I always enjoy reading your posts ! They are very informative, interesting and to the point! Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us !

It’s FRI-NALLY FRI-YAY!!! 🍟
🤸🏻‍♀️🍾🤗
Slice your sweet potato into strips.

Toss with avocado oil and arrowroot  powder or potato starch until coated well.

Bake at 400F for 30-35 minutes!

That’s it!! Enjoy!!

#fastfood #foodie #homemade #fries #sweetpotato #delicious #yum #buzzfeedfood #instapic #sweet #food #fresh #organic #feed #friyayvibes #goodeats #tastebuds #nutritionist #thekitchn #cleaneats #hungry #foodpics #foodgawker

It’s FRI-NALLY FRI-YAY!!! 🍟
🤸🏻‍♀️🍾🤗
Slice your sweet potato into strips.

Toss with avocado oil and arrowroot powder or potato starch until coated well.

Bake at 400F for 30-35 minutes!

That’s it!! Enjoy!!

#fastfood #foodie #homemade #fries #sweetpotato #delicious #yum #buzzfeedfood #instapic #sweet #food #fresh #organic #feed #friyayvibes #goodeats #tastebuds #nutritionist #thekitchn #cleaneats #hungry #foodpics #foodgawker
... See MoreSee Less

3 days ago

Tracy Houle Nutrition
Guys! It’s the ultimate lazy persons dinner! But in this case it’s about using up the last of the veggies on-hand.😉

Literally emptied out the veggie tray I purchased a few days ago onto the pan with some steelhead salmon! 🤷🏻‍♀️

Plus some pre-chopped and washed lettuce. It’s more than 5 ingredients but less than 5 steps at least! 💁🏻‍♀️

Don’t forget to check out the blog about Creating A Mindset For Health!
.
https://tracyhoule.com/health_mindset/ 
.
.
.
#easydinners #nofoodwasted #5ingredients15minutes #fastfood #wholefoods #qualityoverquantity #nutritionist #functionalfood #health #matters #notdiet #lifestyle #thursdaymotivation 

 @ Oakville, OntarioImage attachment

Guys! It’s the ultimate lazy persons dinner! But in this case it’s about using up the last of the veggies on-hand.😉

Literally emptied out the veggie tray I purchased a few days ago onto the pan with some steelhead salmon! 🤷🏻‍♀️

Plus some pre-chopped and washed lettuce. It’s more than 5 ingredients but less than 5 steps at least! 💁🏻‍♀️

Don’t forget to check out the blog about Creating A Mindset For Health!
.
tracyhoule.com/health_mindset/
.
.
.
#easydinners #nofoodwasted #5ingredients15minutes #fastfood #wholefoods #qualityoverquantity #nutritionist #functionalfood #health #matters #notdiet #lifestyle #thursdaymotivation

@ Oakville, Ontario
... See MoreSee Less

Comment on Facebook

Looks delicious! The salmon dish is less then 5 😉. The salad is a side !

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