Health Blog

How much water should we really drink?

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We are constantly bombarded with health messages about ensuring we consume enough water.

Our bodies use water to regulate temperature and maintain important bodily functions such as digestion.

While eight cups a day is often recommended, it may not be the right amount for you depending on the weather, your general health and your activities.

How much is enough?

Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) does not recommend a set amount of water, instead urging us to ‘drink plenty’.

Our team mentions how much water you will need depends on a variety of factors, including your age, gender and body weight.

The Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand suggest adult men should be drinking around 10 cups a day, while women should drink around 8.

The CSIRO notes these figures are based on the average body weight of adults and recommend an intake of 35 millilitres of water per kilogram of body weight, per day.

This can include tea, coffee, juice and alcohol.

People who are pregnant, breastfeeding, engaging in exercise, consuming high protein diets, or spending time in hot climates should make sure they are consuming more water.

How can I tell if I’m getting enough?

Your body will let you know you need to get hydrated through symptoms such as a dry mouth, dizziness, sluggishness or headaches.

Various studies suggest drinking when you’re thirsty is a failsafe method of staying hydrated.

According to the Florey Neuroscience Institute, if drinking water suddenly feels like particularly hard work, you may have consumed too much.

Normally our kidneys will excrete excess water as urine, but in rare cases people may suffer from water toxicity or hyponatremia, caused by a loss of sodium resulting from increased water levels.