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Water is an important part of your body. In fact, it makes up more than 60 percent of your body weight. Among other functions, water:
- Moistens tissues, such as those around your mouth, eyes, and nose
- Regulates your body temperature
- Cushions your joints
- Helps your body get nutrients
- Flushes out waste products
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How much water should I drink?
Without water, you would die in a few days. So it's important that you get enough water. But how much water is enough? Experts generally recommend that you drink six to eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid every day. But it doesn't have to be all water. You could satisfy some of your fluid needs by drinking milk, tea, soda, coffee, or juice, which are composed mostly of water. Just remember that juice and sodas are high in sugar. Many fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon and tomatoes, are also mostly water.
If you're being physically active and sweating a lot, you'll need more fluid. You'll also need more if the weather is hot. Women who are pregnant should drink about 10 cups of fluids daily. And women who breastfeed should drink about 13 cups of fluids daily.
It's generally not a good idea to use thirst alone as a guide for when to drink. By the time you're thirsty, you may already be a bit dehydrated. On the other hand, you don't need to be constantly carrying around water bottles and drinking lots of water. You are probably getting all the fluid you need if you are rarely thirsty and you produce a little more than six cups of colorless or slightly yellow urine a day. Dark urine can be a signal that you need more fluid.
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More information on Water
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Bottled Water Everywhere: Keeping it Safe - This publication gives information on how bottled water is classified, labeled, and regulated for safety and quality.
Dehydration - Find out the symptoms, causes, and treatment of dehydration on this fact sheet.
Fluid and Electrolyte Balance - This website describes how minerals and water help your body function properly. It also features links to specific conditions related to fluid and electrolyte imbalance.
Water: How Much Should You Drink Every Day? (Copyright © Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) - Water is essential to good health, yet needs vary by individual. These guidelines can help ensure you drink enough fluids.
Water: Meeting Your Daily Fluid Needs - Our bodies need water because it is in every cell, tissue, and organ. This publication talks about getting enough water every day and why it is important for your health.
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Content last updated June 17, 2008.
Resources last updated June 17, 2008.
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