How Much Water Is Really Enough? And What Does Your Body Do With It All?

Truth time: do you drink the eight recommended glasses of water a day? If you’re like most people, you don’t really know how much water your body is getting, or even how much you should be getting. You’ve probably heard different “rules” thrown around about staying hydrated. Some say you should drink eight glasses of water a day. Others say you need to drink half your body weight in water every day. How much water is really enough? And what does your body do with it all?

How Much Water Is Really Enough? And What Does Your Body Do With It All?

Our bodies are made up of about two-thirds water. Isn’t that wild?! The majority of your human body is water. Your brain is 74% water, your lungs 83%, your skin 64%, and your muscles are 79% water. No wonder water is so important to our daily functioning!

How Much Water Is Really Enough?

According to the guidelines set in 2004 by The Institute of Medicine, an average healthy woman should consume about 91 ounces of total water per day, while healthy adult men should aim for about 125 ounces each day.

Now, notice that the guidelines say “total” water per day. Did you know that water from other beverages, and even foods high in water volume, count towards your total daily water intake?? And guess what- even your morning cup of coffee counts towards your hydration (yay!).

In fact, beverages only contribute to about 80% of your total daily water intake. The other 20% comes from the foods that you consume. So, instead of trying to down 91 ounces of water every day, just indulge in some watermelon or strawberries- both of which have more than 90% water content. Skim milk, lettuce, zucchini, and cantaloupe all have a water content of at least 90%. Who says staying hydrated can’t taste delicious?

How Much Water Is Really Enough? And What Does Your Body Do With It All?

Why You Need To Stay Hydrated

Like I mentioned earlier, your body is 60-70% water. How do you think your body functions if your major organs (i.e. your brain, muscles, etc.) are dehydrated? I’ll give you a hint- not very good at all!

There are so many benefits to staying hydrated that I could write a whole article just on that. Do you enjoy exercise? Water supports and lubricates your joints, prevents backaches and cramps, and supports muscle growth. Do you like feeling and looking good? Hydration improves your complexion by keeping skin and hair healthy, supports weight loss and weight management, and prevents bad breath (who wouldn’t want that??).

Body temperature regulation. Nutrient absorption. Immune system boost. Headache and migraine prevention. I could go on for days about the good things that water does for your body. The bottom line is if you want your body to run smoothly, staying hydrated should be at the top of your priority list.

How Much Water Is Really Enough? And What Does Your Body Do With It All?

How To Tell If You Are Dehydrated

Trust me, I know, it’s easy to get busy and before you know it, it’s bedtime and you’ve barely consumed any water for the day. Doing this on occasion will not do much harm, but you should always watch out for signs of dehydration and correct it immediately.

The feeling of being thirsty, a dry mouth, and dark yellow urine are some obvious signs your body needs water. Headaches, muscle cramps, dizziness (especially when standing up quickly), and dry skin are also tell-tale signs your body is becoming dehydrated. Some less obvious signs you may be dehydrated are bad breath (yuck), crankiness, and sugar cravings.

How Much Water Is Really Enough? And What Does Your Body Do With It All?

You wouldn’t expect your car to run without oil, so don’t let your body run dry either.

Hydration isn’t complicated or hard, but it is important. Take inventory of your current hydration habits and see how you can improve. What are some of your favorite ways to stay hydrated?