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Tasty Tuesday by Anna Grindeland, RD, CD: Is 8 Glasses Enough?

By: Anna Grindeland, RD, CD

You have probably been told at one time that you should drink eight 8 ounce glasses of water every day (that is a total of 64 oz). But the amount you actually need depends on a lot of factors: Your age, body size, activity level, and it may change for certain medical conditions as well.

On average women should be getting 91 oz of water and men 125 oz every day

That’s between 11-16 cups of water per day:

Water from other sources:

Other beverages like tea, sports drinks, and juice also provider water.

Water can also come from the food we eat. Fruits and vegetables are very high in water and eating them daily can help keep you hydrated, plus provide electrolytes to balance the fluids in your body.

Some individuals with heart or kidney problems are required to drink less water by their doctor. If this applies to you, make sure you know your limit and get, at a minimum, 4 cups of water daily. Water should not be replaced with calorie-containing drinks like fruit juice, soda, electrolyte drinks, or vitamin water.

How do I know I am getting enough? Listen to your body…

What your pee can tell you:

Our kidneys balance the fluid in our bodies, and with other waste products, are excreted through urine. The more concentrated your urine is, the darker in color it will be. Urine should be a very pale yellow when you are well-hydrated.

What your teeth can tell you:

Our gums are highly sensitive to dehydration. To keep your mouth and gums healthy, it is important to drink enough water and to eat a healthy diet.

What your skin can tell you:

Have you tried pushing a finger into the skin on your arm to see if you are hydrated? If the imprint of your finger stays white for a long time, you are probably dehydrated. In the same way, give yourself a small pinch on the arm. If the skin quickly returns to normal, you are better hydrated than if the pinched skin takes longer to return to normal.

Tips for drinking more water:

  1. “Hate” water? Try mineral water, add fruit to your water, or sweetener-free flavored water. Because these flavored waters contain flavorings (such as lemon) that may be acidic, excessive amount can be hard on your teeth enamel. So, for every glass of flavored water, have one of plain water.
  2. Make it fit—buy a water bottle that fits in your cup holder, purse, gym bag, or lunch box. If it’s easier to take with you, you are more likely to use it.
  3. Straws—Ronald McDonald has known for a long time that wide straws make people drink more—why not use the same concept to trick yourself into drinking more water?
  4. Eat more watery foods—In addition to being very high in vitamins and minerals, Fruits and vegetables contain a large amount of water. By weight, lettuce is about 90% water, and bananas are about 75% water.
  5. Spread it out—Break up your water throughout the day. Drink 1-2 glasses of water first thing in the morning, have one glass before you eat a meal, and one after. Keep water by your desk, in your car, and work area so it is available all of the time.
  6. Home-flavored water can be a tasty and interesting twist on regular water. Try infusion cucumber and mint, lemon and fresh chopped ginger, orange and rosemary, or invent other combinations in your water to make it fun and interesting!
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The information found in the Health Library is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice nor does it represent the views or position of WHMC. Readers should always consult with their healthcare provider for diagnosis and treatment, including for specific medical needs.