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How Much Water Do You Really Need To Drink?

Maryann Savina Xavier

1 min read

Tips to stay hydrated. Improve your mood, energy levels, digestion and much more—simply by drinking more water.

A hectic workday schedule, endless zoom meetings and tight deadlines keeping you from sipping enough water? Water makes up 60 percent of your body weight. Your body is governed by 11 organ systems which work interdependently and rely on water for their functioning. As your body depletes its water reserves, it sends out signals in the form of thirst, dark-coloured and foul-smelling urine, dryness in the mouth and eyes, fatigue and dizziness.

So how much water do you need? The National Academy of Medicine, Washington DC, USA recommends a daily fluid intake of about 13 cups for healthy men and 9 cups for women, where each cup equals 236 ml. This quantity may increase for those who are physically active, breastfeeding, pregnant or exposed to very warm climates.

Drinking water is healthy but in excess, it could topple the balance of electrolytes. Your body needs electrolytes like sodium, potassium, magnesium and chloride in the bloodstream to support muscle contraction, nervous system functioning, and maintain the body’s acid-base levels. However, drinking too much water can lead to dilution of sodium, a condition recognised as hyponatremia, that results in symptoms such as confusion, headaches, muscle weakness, spasms or cramps and in worst cases seizures and coma.

Do You Know?
  • Blood is more than 90 percent water: According to the study What does blood do? published in the National Center for Biotechnology (NCBI), your blood is made of 55 percent blood plasma and 45 percent different types of blood cells. Over 90 percent of the blood plasma in our body is water.
  • According to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), the human body needs water to maintain the standard body temperature of 98.6°F.
  • The cartilage which cushions your joints and the disks of the spine contains around 80 percent water. So, when undernourished, it becomes dry, making your joints vulnerable to shocks and blows.
Related story: Revealed: Health Secrets Of Living Water & Hydrogen

According to the study What does blood do? published in the National Center for Biotechnology (NCBI), your blood is made of 55 percent blood plasma and 45 percent different types of blood cells.

  • According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, your kidneys filter out about half a cup of blood per minute, helping you get rid of wastes and extra fluids. This cannot be done without water.
  • Daily fluid intake can come from food. According to the CDC, your daily fluid intake not only comes from drinking water, but also from food and beverages.
  • Water loss can prove fatal. According to SITN (a Graduate Student Group at the Harvard Graduate School of the Arts and Science) since water makes up 60-75 percent of your body weight, even a loss of 4 percent could lead to dehydration and a loss of 15 percent can be fatal, leading to death.
  • Cells are the major storehouses of water. About two-thirds of your body’s water is found in cells.
Related story: The Truth About Diets: Juice Detox

Wellness advice from qualified experts

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How to Drink More Water
  • Carry a reusable water bottle and refill it throughout the day. A lot of us use single-use plastic bottles that we throw away after some time. Using a reusable bottle helps reduce our carbon footprint and plastic waste.
  • Use a mobile app! Make use of technology to track water consumption. Try Water Drink Reminder and Water Tracker. These are free water tracker apps, available for both Android and iOS platforms.
  • The next time you are tempted to open the fridge for a snack, take a sip of water. Our body tends to confuse dehydration with hunger.
  • Fruits, vegetables and dairy products also help us stay hydrated.. Fruits like strawberries, cucumber and watermelon, vegetables such as cabbage, spinach, and dairy products—milk, yoghurt, and cottage cheese, are all rich sources of water.
  • Drink water 30-minutes before a meal or an hour after your meal. It helps with digestion, especially of high-fibre foods. Fibrous foods absorb water to help form stools and promote regularity.
  • Add a wedge of lime or lemon or other flavours like watermelon, cucumber, mint leaves, basil seeds and orange to your water bottle. This gives you an incentive to drink more water than you usually would.
  • Drink a glass of water every time you take a break to go to the bathroom. These frequent visits will serve as a reminder to drink water and eventually turn into a healthy habit.
  • Keep it fun. Switch between water and water-based beverages like hot/iced tea.
  • Drink plenty of water before and after exercise to keep your body hydrated and replenish lost energy. Sip regularly during your workout. Doing this will also help performance and recovery.
Related story: Post Meal Drink to Improve Digestion