How Much Water Should I Drink

How much water should I drink? As an acupuncturist I have lost count of the number of times I have been asked this question.How much water should I drink

In order to answer this we will first take a look at why drinking enough water is so important, and then examine how to judge the right intake for you.

Water is an essential part of the functioning of every cell in your body (after all each of us is made up of between 50 and 75% water). You lose water every day through essential functions such as sweating, breathing, urinating and opening your bowels. The amount of you lose is dependent on factors such as climate and how much you exercise (and hence how much you sweat). This can vary from day to day and from season to season. A common recommendation is to drink around 2 litres of water or other fluid every day. Some adults however may need more or less, depending on individual circumstances.

Most intake is derived from beverages (water is best as there are no impurities to filter out), although some can be derived from the food we eat. Watermelon and lettuce are obvious examples of food with high water content.

How much water should I drink

Signs that you are not drinking enough may include:-

  • A dry mouth, perhaps accompanied by a sticky taste
  • Dry skin
  • Dry eyes
  • Tiredness and lethargy
  • Constipation (lack of lubrication in the intestines)
  • Hunger pangs (when you are dehydrated your body sometimes thinks it needs food)
  • Premature aging

And finally one obvious sign to look for is reduced urination. If you go to the toilet 4-7 times a day you’re probably not drinking enough. This is particularly relevant if your urine is dark yellow in colour and/or strong smelling (aside from the first visit in the morning).

So what is the best strategy? How much water should you drink? A recent article in the Independent (15th July 2015) gave the following advice,

For most healthy people, drinking little and often throughout the day is the best approach. Drink a little more, but not too much, when it’s hot or you are exercising. Listen to your body and it will let you know whether you are drinking too much or too little. But don’t be afraid to seek medical advice if anything seems out of the ordinary.

From a dietary point of view Chinese dietary therapy guru Daverick Leggett advises us :-

To include more lubricating foods which are foods with high water content and mucilage content.

In this capacity he suggests marrow and most fruits (in particular pears) but you could also include moister methods of cooking such as soups and stews. Or you could simply cook your breakfast porridge a little thinner.


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About Martin Dean

Acupuncturist and University Lecturer Martin Dean has over 20 years clinical experience. He has a specialist interest in treating fertility issues and is also a founder member of Zita West's Network for Reproductive Health so you not only get the benefit of Martin's individual expertise but, through the network, the experience of Zita and her colleagues. In his spare time he practices tai chi to promote calmness and maintain health.