The Recommended Average Water Intake for a Healthy Adult

by Catherine Conrad, R.D., L.D.N., Demand Media
    Are eight glasses of water per day right for you?

    Are eight glasses of water per day right for you?

    You may have heard that consuming water throughout the day is crucial for your health, but exactly how much water should you be drinking to keep your body hydrated? Since the body needs water to protect your joints, get rid of wastes and to maintain a normal body temperature, figuring out the right amount of water intake for you is a vital component to maintaining optimal health.

    Appropriate Fluid Intake

    Water is found in every cell, tissue and organ, which is why drinking fluids throughout the day is key. A good goal for healthy women is to drink around 6 to 8 servings a day of 8 ounces of fluid, according to the American Lung Association. Try filling a jug or water pitcher each morning with all of the fluid that you are supposed to drink to help you reach your goal.

    More Tips on Meeting Your Daily Water Needs

    Most of your fluid needs are met through the water and beverages that you drink throughout the day. Adding a lemon or other fruit wedge to your water can help make this goal more attainable for those who find water too bland. Even eating fruits and vegetables like lettuce, celery, tomatoes, oranges and melons contribute to your fluid goals. While water is the best choice, any healthy fluid will do, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So, brew up some unsweetened iced tea or fresh-squeezed lemonade and get drinking.

    When to Consume More Water

    Sometimes, 8 cups a day is not enough. The United States Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health recommends about 10 cups of fluids per day during pregnancy and lactation. Remember, some drinks are higher in sugar than others, which can lead to weight gain and other health problems. Also, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, your body needs more water in other circumstances, as well. When you are physically active, in a hot climate or at higher altitudes, your body produces more sweat, so it is important to drink more. In addition, when you are running a fever and have diarrhea or are vomiting, consume more fluids.

    When to Limit Fluid Intake

    Some individuals may need to limit the amount of fluids that they take in to prevent further health complications. People in the later stages of chronic kidney disease must limit their fluid intake because too much fluid can build up in the body. This can be dangerous for blood pressure regulation and cause shortness of breath and heart problems, according to the experts at DaVita Dialysis Centers. For people with lung and heart disease, an appropriate intake of water can help keep mucus thin for easier removal, but too much water can lead to fluid retention and swelling of the limbs and organs, according to the American Lung Association. It is important to consult with your physician in regards to the appropriate amount of fluids you should consume to keep your body hydrated.

    About the Author

    Catherine Conrad is a registered dietitian specializing in wellness nutrition. She graduated from Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Science in nutrition and completed her dietetic residency at Iowa State University. Conrad has written several community nutrition programs. She is also a competitive runner and rower.

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