Most people have heard they should drink 8 glasses of water a day. But did you know this is just an estimate of the daily suggested water intake? Like all things in nutrition, the amount of water to drink each day varies based on many factors. Breastfeeding moms, very active people, and small children need more water than average. Kids may not drink enough water on their own, so parents should encourage them to drink water throughout the day. For most adults, drinking water when you feel thirsty will usually provide enough hydration. But for people who like setting a SMART goal, eight glasses of water a day is a good target.
Benefits of drinking water
Water is an important nutrient in our bodies, making up almost half of our body weights as adults. It serves many purposes, such as:
- Water fills our cells to give them volume. Drinking lots of water keeps your skin healthy and young-looking.
- Our brains have a high water content. Being dehydrated can impair thinking and memory. Drinking more water can help keep our brains functioning normally. You might feel a little less irritable, too!
- Water carries all the molecules that are necessary for digestion and metabolism. Water carries nutrients around the body and flushes waste products out of the body. Drinking enough water helps prevent constipation.
- Our bodies’ water content helps regulate our body temperature. When we’re hot, we sweat out water to cool off.
- Researchers have found that drinking water before meals (1-2 cups) can help with weight loss. In fact, drinking more water is associated with a healthier diet overall.
Tips for drinking more water
- Replace one sugar-sweetened beverage a day with water.
- Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning.
- Drink a glass of water before cooking dinner.
- Add fruit (or veggies and herbs) for flavor. I like using frozen fruit – no chopping necessary!
- Carry a water bottle with you all day.
- Invest in a water filter jug if you don’t like the taste of your tap water.
Are you drinking enough water (about 8 glasses) every day? What helps you drink more water?