“Drink more water” is an age-old piece of advice. But do you know why you should drink more water or how it helps your body be healthy?
Why We Need Water
Our bodies are made up of mostly water. A newborn baby’s body is 75% water and our adult bodies are around 60% water. Our organs require water to stay healthy.   Drinking the recommended amount of water helps your body in the following ways:  
How Your Body Uses Water
So, you just finished drinking a glass of water. But what does your body do with that water now?
- Water is necessary to help your blood transport oxygen and nutrients throughout your body and to your organs. 
- Your liver and kidneys require water to help your body get rid of harmful substances.  
- Water helps our bodies to get rid of the extra sodium we eat.  
- Even our brain is about 70% water, which means staying hydrated helps us think clearly!   
How much water do we need?
Water needs are different for individuals based on body size, gender, physical activity level and body water losses. We get water from foods we eat and fluids we drink. In general, women need around 9 cups of fluid daily and men need around 12.5 cups fluid daily. 
|Recommended Total Daily Water Intake: food & beverages||Recommended Daily Water Intake: fluid only|
|Men||15.5 (8 ounce) cups||12.5 (8 ounce) cups|
|Women||11.5 (8 ounce) cups||9 (8 ounce) cups|
The amounts in this table are average amounts for adults ages 18 years and older. Water needs will vary depending on the person. 
Tips for Drinking More Water
- Carry a water bottle and refill it throughout the day.
- Make water taste better by adding water with fruit, vegetables, and herbs. See these recipes to make fruit-infused water: Cucumber Lemon Water, Strawberry Orange Mint Water, Watermelon Lime Water, Apple Cinnamon Spice Water, and Blueberry Peach Water.
- Set a reminder on your phone to drink more water. Water tracker, Waterllama, has a free app to track water intake and set daily goals. You ca grow a virtual plant on the Plant Nanny Water Tracker log. Every time you drink water, your plant will grow as you track the water you drink!
- Challenge yourself and family members to set a goal to drink your daily requirement of water.
Replacing Sugary Beverages with Water
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025 recommend that we limit added sugars to less than 10% of daily total calories. Sugar-sweetened beverages make up the largest percentage of added sugars in the typical American diet.  Replacing just one 16-ounce bottle of soda with a glass of water every day will save 210 calories. That adds up to a total of 76,650 calories each year! Small changes lead to big results.
Try these tips to cut back on sugar in beverages you drink:
- Use only 1 teaspoon of sugar instead of 2 teaspoons in your coffee or tea.
- Replace 1 soda or glass of sweet tea with water.
- Start reducing the amount of sugar in your sweet tea by having ¾ sweet tea and ¼-cup unsweet tea. Then gradually reduce to half-sweet tea and half-unsweet tea. Next, try ¼-cup sweet tea and ¾-cup unsweet tea.
The smallest of changes in what you drink each day can make a big difference in your overall health. Start by drinking one cup of water a day. Read our 10 Tricks to Stay Hydrated article for motivation. If you want to know if you are getting enough water, read our Hydration Check-in article.
Written by Leslie Davis, MS, RD, LD, CDCES | Edited by the Nutrition Education Team
Posted: March 21, 2022