How much water should I be drinking each day?
Hydration and health go together like peanut butter and jelly, and even though most people know this, they are still not drinking as much as they should. There has been a lot of debate on the exact amount you need to be really healthy, so the question still needs to be asked: how much water should you drink each day?
The Short Answer
Currently, there has been some debate on the tried-and-true water recommendations that most people have been familiar with, as researchers start to think we really need even more water each day. That said, the “old fashioned” answer is still a good place to start.
In other words, you should aim to drink at least 8 cups of water each day. It’s easy to remember if you just consider that a cup has 8-oz. Or if you prefer to just fill up a big jug for the day, you’ll need 2 quarts.
Newer suggestions of 13 cups for men and 9 cups for women has been discussed based on more recent studies. If you are just starting to up your intake, you can be happy with the 8 cups. It’s certainly a great healthy start.
Not all water is equal, and if you are taking steps to drink more then you should put a little effort into making sure it’s the good stuff.
Plain tap water is better than nothing, and some locations may have fine water. Most city water is treated with chlorine and fluoride, neither of which you will want to be drinking in large volumes. Hard water, or water with high levels of rust or sediment may be just as unpleasant to drink. And of course, there is always the chance that there may be other contaminants in your tap water too.
That doesn’t mean you have to start shelling out money for bottled water. A good-quality water filter for the house can be enough to clean up your water to keep it as healthy as possible during your hydration regimen.
It can seem like an awful lot of water when you look at 2 quarts all at once. But if you spread it out over the day, it’s not that hard to drink it all. Keeping a jug or bottle in the fridge is one way to keep it handy and nicely chilled. You can also add a little lemon juice to change up the flavor. Don’t actually drink full fruit juice as a substitute for the water though. Far too much sugar.
Carry a good-sized water bottle with you when you are out, so you don’t procrastinate on drinking just because you are away from home. Some now have filter cartridges built-in, or even a removable core that you can freeze before you leave for chilled water on the go.
When you are tracking you water consumption, you can’t count things like juice, milk, coffee or tea. While they all give you some additional water, you only get the health benefits from straight water.