Are you drinking enough water?

August 20, 2009

Yesterday, one of my clients told me he drank only 4 cups of water per week and later that day, another client reported not drinking any water at all! 

Although we each have different fluid needs, we all need enough for our bodies to function properly. For example, water helps to flush out toxins, carries nutrients into our cells, helps convert food to energy, and prevents constipation. Lack of fluids results in dehydration which can cause fatigue, dry mouth, headaches, thirst, and other symptoms. Most people drink based on thirst, but, some people don’t recognize their thirst signals and can go hours without drinking. 

So how much water should you drink?  It depends.  Certain factors increase your fluid needs: hot or humid climates, exercise, illness (vomiting, diarrhea), and pregnancy or breastfeeding. Conversly, certain medical conditions such as heart failure or kidney or liver disease require a person to restrict fluid intake.

But, in general, a healthy adult living in a moderate climate needs approximately 8 cups of fluid per day.  This amount can include fluids from certain foods (fruits, vegetables).  It may also include other beverages such as coffee, tea, or soda, but these should not be the main source.  Drinking 1 cup of water with each meal + 1 cup before and after each meal is a good way to ensure consistent intake throughout the day.

An easy way to tell if you’re well hydrated is to check your urine- dark color like iced tea = need more fluid; light color like lemonade = adequate fluid. 🙂

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