The average human is 60 percent water by weight. Water regulates temperature, transports nutrients and oxygen to vital organs, and clears the tissues of waste products. Because water is lost in breath, urine and sweat, the body requires regular replenishment to avoid dehydration, whose symptoms include thirst, headaches, fatigue and dry skin.
The Institute of Medicine has determined that an adequate intake of total water for women ages 19 and older is roughly 11 1/2 cups per day. Total water intake includes drinking water, water in beverages and water that is part of
food. Most people consume about 80 percent of their water in the form of beverages, and 20 percent in food -- but there are exceptions.
When to Drink More
When exercising, drink extra water to replenish fluids lost with exertion. Drink about 2 cups of water for short bouts of exercise, but if you sweat for an hour or more, additional fluid is required. Also, if you live in a humid environment or at altitude greater than 8,200 feet, your fluid requirements go up. They are also higher if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Or Perhaps Drink Less
If you follow a plant-based diet that includes an abundance of fruits and vegetables, you may not need to drink as much water as those whose diets include foods of a drier variety, such as animal products, nuts and grains, notes the Mayo Clinic. Nevertheless, it is a good idea to drink a glass of water with each meal and between each meal.
Make It Tasty
Most people can meet their fluid needs simply by following the dictates of thirst. However, if you spend a lot of time in hot weather or engaging in long workouts, the CDC recommends that you carry a water bottle with you as a
reminder to drink up. Add a squeeze of lemon or lime to improve the taste and encourage you to drink more. It also helps to choose water over alcohol and soft drinks when eating out, which will save money and reduce calories.