Our bodies are about 60% water (1)! This is important to note because we can see why it is important to keep hydrated. In staying hydrated, we can ensure that we can regulate our body temperature day-to-day, deliver nutrients to our cells, ensure our organs are functioning properly, to assist with keeping our joints properly lubricated, along with many other reasons (2)! With that, the majority of the things that we intake daily has water in it, despite what some may think.
The foods that we eat, as well as the other drinks we intake, all have water in them. In fact, according to the Mayo Clinic, approximately 20% of the fluids that we intake per day, actually come from our food (3)! With no shortage of benefits to staying hydrated, a common question that is asked is, does it have to be water? Many find themselves not enjoying drinking loads of water per day, so it is natural to look at other avenues in search of finding another potential alternative to continue on with the benefits of staying hydrated. The short answer is, no. To expand a bit, we could intake sparkling waters, flavored waters, some sports drinks dependent upon the person and application, some juices, tea’s, coffee, and many others. One thing to keep in mind, among many others, is that the goal is for the drink to not contain many calories, unless it is needed for the given activity, or if the goal is weight loss. Keeping the majority of the intake of fluids as water, is the most ideal situation, to avoid excess calories from drinks, potentially caffeine, and possible sugar sweetened beverages. The daily aim for fluid intake, according to the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, is 15.5 cups per day for men, and 11.5 cups for women (3). This can vary from the often recommended 8 glasses per day, depending on exercise intensity and frequency, the environment one is in, and the overall health status of the individual. One last recommendation that has circulated is to drink one ounce or half of an ounce per pound of body weight per day (4). In the end, there is no one size-fits all amount for everyone to drink fluids, and there are many recommendations, but in the end, just make sure you don’t feel thirsty and drink according to your exercise, environment, and health status!