Water is vital for the proper function of virtually every cell, tissue, and organ in the body, and is needed for proper digestion and delivery of nutrients to your cells, and to help regulate body temperature. Water also acts as a “shock absorber” for the brain and spinal cord, and it lubricates joints, organs, and tissues. Adequate water intake may even help you manage your weight.
How much water should I drink?
Your age, size, gender, physical activity level and climate will help determine your water needs. According to the Nutrient Reference Values* for Australia and New Zealand, the recommended daily fluid intake is about 8 cups for adult women and about 10 cups for adult men.
About 70-80% should be provided by beverages including water, tea, coffee and other beverages, and the remaining 20-30% should come from watery foods such as fruits and vegetables.
Be aware of dehydration symptoms
When you’re not properly hydrated, your body sounds an alarm that shows itself first as thirst and dry mouth. Signs that you may not be taking in enough fluid might include:
- Dark urine
- Bad breath
- Muscle fatigue
But by the time your thirst mechanism kicks in, you’re already fairly dehydrated, so it’s important to stay on top of your fluid intake during the day.
4 Ways to up your intake
- Start your day with a big glass of water before your coffee or tea – you’ll create a good habit that can last a lifetime.
- Review the situation at work. If you’re at your desk, on your feet or in the field, make sure you have convenient access to water (or bring it with you).
- Set a timer or use an app for your smartphone that can remind you to drink more water throughout the day.
- Make it interesting: add in citrus, herbs, fruit or a splash of juice to amp up the taste; go for a bubbly, unsweetened option; have some tea with lemon; keep a pitcher in the fridge for a nice icy blast on a warm day.
Whatever way you choose to stay hydrated, even a little bit more water on a daily basis can make a big difference.
By SUSAN BOWERMAN
MS, RD, CSSD, CSOWM, FAND,
Senior Director, Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training, Herbalife Nutrition.