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Are You Drinking Enough Water?

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woman drinking a glass of water

By Cory Sekine-Pettite

Let me just answer that question for you: No. According to many physicians’ groups and the National Academy of Medicine, about 75 percent of us don’t drink enough water and likely suffer from chronic dehydration. Over time, chronic dehydration can lead to conditions ranging from fatigue, joint pain, and weight gain to headaches, ulcers, high blood pressure, and kidney disease. So clearly, we all should be drinking more water. Even while we’ve been stuck at home for the past couple of months (self-isolating and social distancing), we likely aren’t incorporating more water into our diets. In fact, since most of us aren’t even exercising right now, we probably don’t see the need in drinking much water.

However, the CDC, the USDA, the Mayo Clinic, and other healthcare and nutrition organizations warn that it’s easy to reach a state of dangerous dehydration — but it’s also an easy problem to fix. Generally speaking, women need about 11.5 cups of water per day and men require about 15.5 cups. These estimates include fluids consumed from both foods and other beverages. Typically, experts say, we get about 20 percent of the water we need from the foods we eat. So, taking that into account, women need about nine cups of fluid per day and men about 12.5 cups in order to help replenish the amount of water that is lost.

Remember: Not all fluids are created equally. Caffeinated beverages and alcohol are diuretics; they pull water from the body. Additionally, most fruit juices and fruit-flavored drinks contain very little sodium and a lot of carbohydrates. Stick to water for proper hydration and you will keep your summer activities safer and much more enjoyable. Plus, your properly hydrated body will be able to better maintain a normal temperature, your joints will be properly lubricated and functioning better, you’ll have more energy, and your brain function will improve. Drink up!