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How Much Water Should I Drink

By  Emily Barr, MS,RD,CNSC 

Water balloons, water parks, and water colors are all components of summertime fun, but what about drinking water?  Most people do not find drinking water to be all that fun, and they often time fall short of their fluid goal leaving them in a state of dehydration. Unfortunately, water is essential to keeping us alive, especially since we would only survive approximately a week without it!

Other than the obvious function of hydration, water also plays an important role of removing toxins from our body, and it helps to optimize our metabolism.  Research from Virginia Tech by Dr. Brenda Davy found that “being only 1% dehydrated significantly decreased your metabolic rate”, which would make it more difficult to maintain a healthy weight.

How Much Water Should I Drink

Photo By Darwin Bell

The common recommendation we hear is 8 – 8 oz glasses of water a day, but in actuality, one size does not fit all.

Water needs are more individualized and are dependent upon your weight, activity level, state of health, and climate.  The American Dietetic Association recommends drinking 9 cups water per day for women and 13 cups water per day for men.   Another rule of thumb is to take your weight in pounds, divide in half to calculate your goal water intake in fluid ounces.  For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you would require ~75 fluid ounces water per day.

Once you figure out how much water you need a day, then consider that we drink 80% of our water intake, while the remaining 20% of our water intake comes from food.  Foods that contain a great amount of water slow down the digestion process, therefore, leaving us feeling fuller longer!  Water filled foods are most often extremely healthy foods like fruits and vegetables which provide us with a multitude of additional health benefits.

Although we can’t meet 100% of our fluid needs from foods alone, we can make the most of the foods we chose.  Here is a list of your best water loaded foods:


  • cucumbers (96%)
  • lettuce (96%)
  • celery (95%)
  • zucchini (95%)
  • tomato (94%)
  • cabbage (93%)
  • watermelon (92%)
  • spinach (92%)
  • cauliflower (92%)
  • strawberries (92%)
  • peppers (92%)
  • eggplant (92%)
  • broccoli (91%)
  • grapefruit (91%)
  • cantaloupe (90%)


  • peach (88%)
  • pineapple (87%)
  • oranges (87%)
  • carrots (87%)
  • raspberries (87%)
  • plums (85%)
  • blueberries (85%)
  • apples (84%)
  • pear (84%)
  • grapes (81%)

Source:  University of Kentucky, Bowes & Church’s Food Values 1994.

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