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How Much Water Should I Drink Per Day?

Let's first talk about why hydration matters at all.

Imagine your body's cells, tissues, and organs as a thriving ecosystem, with water serving as the lifeblood that nourishes and sustains every part. In a well-hydrated state, water flows freely like rivers through the veins, ensuring nutrients are delivered efficiently, waste is carried away by the bowel, and all systems function smoothly.

However, when dehydration sets in, it's like the rivers drying up. The flow of essential nutrients slows down, and waste products start to accumulate (hello constipation) because there isn’t enough water to transport them out of the system. Blood thickens, making it harder for your heart to pump it through the vessels, circulation is impaired and there is reduced delivery of oxygen and nutrients to cells.

Our brain function also starts to falter, as even mild dehydration can impair cognitive abilities, concentration, and mood.  Joints become less lubricated, leading to stiffness and pain. The skin becomes dry, dull, and less elastic, making fine lines and wrinkles more pronounced while also increasing sensitivity and irritation. Additionally, dehydrated skin's impaired barrier function can lead to slower healing and a heightened vulnerability to environmental damage and infections.

Signs of Dehydration

  • Constipation

  • Hemorrhoids

  • Thirst

  • Infrequent urination

  • Muscle cramps

  • Feeling faint

  • Dry skin, eyes, mouth

  • Fatigue

  • Headaches

  • Sunken eyes

  • Dull skin

  • Irritability

  • Brain fog

  • Darker coloured urine

  • Confusion and dizziness

  • Urinary tract infection 

How Much Water Do I Need?

The exact amount of water required to achieve harmony differs from person to person. It is dependent on weight, height, activity level, caffeine intake, diet and climate of our external environment. With so many varying factors at play, finding the proper balance of hydration in your diet might seem daunting.

A general rule of thumb for daily water intake is often cited as 30-35 millilitres per kilogram of body weight. This means for example, if you weigh 70 kilograms you would benefit from about 2.1 liters daily.

--> 70 kg × 30 ml/kg = 2100 ml

However, I prefer to let your body be the guide.

  1. Pay attention to thirst cues, and overall feelings of well-being. Thirst is a signal that your body needs hydration, so don’t ignore it. Headaches and brain fog are also a tell-tale sign of dehydration.

  2. Consider Caffeine Intake. For every caffeinated beverage (coffee, teas) consider an additional two glasses of water. Caffeine can have a mild diuretic effect, increasing the body’s water loss.

  3. Adjust for Exercise and Heat. When exercising (or even just sweating in hot weather), increase your water intake to compensate for fluid loss. A general guideline is to drink a litre of water per hour of physical activity, adjusting based on intensity and duration.

  4. Monitor Urine Color. Aim for clear to pale straw-coloured urine, which indicates adequate hydration. Darker urine signals dehydration.

How Much Is Too Much Water?

More is not always better. I see people drinking 3L daily which is (in most cases) too much.

Why? Firstly we shouldn't have any fluids at least 20 minutes on either side of meals. This dilutes enzymes which negatively affects digestion and metabolic processes. Remember the gut has to be a certain pH to produce certain digestive juices.

Excessive water intake can also lead to a condition called water intoxication or hyponatremia, where the balance of electrolytes in the body is disrupted. Electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, and chloride are crucial for various physiological functions, including nerve and muscle function. When excessive water intake dilutes the electrolyte concentration in the blood, it can impair the normal function of cells, tissues. and the kidneys. 

“I’m drinking plenty of water but still feel thirsty”

Feeling persistently thirsty despite drinking plenty of water can indicate several underlying factors beyond simple hydration. It may be attributed to inadequate mineral-rich water or electrolytes, which play crucial roles in maintaining fluid balance and cellular function. Additionally, a deficiency in omega-3 fatty acids could contribute to this sensation. Omega-3s make up the membrane of our cells, enabling us to absorb nutrients efficiently and retain water effectively to feel hydrated.

How To Include More Water Into Your Day

  1. Have herbal teas. These are warming and have the added therapeutic benefit of herbal medicines while you hydrate.

  2. Carry a bottle with you. Buy a stainless steel or glass water bottle to remind yourself to hydrate. So much easier than relying on cups throughout the day.

  3. Add in your supplements. Popping your supplement powders into your water makes them more appealing to drink.

  4. Rise and hydrate. Wake and have 500ml of water with lemon. When you wake up, your body may be mildly dehydrated from hours of sleep without fluid intake. 

  5. Maintain Consistency: Establish a routine for drinking water throughout the day rather than relying on thirst alone. This helps maintain hydration levels consistently, especially as thirst declines with age.

  6. Incorporate water-rich foods: Soups and broths are great, Many fruits and vegetables also have high water content and can contribute to your overall hydration. Think cucumber, watermelon, oranges, and celery.

What Kind Of Water Should I Be Drinking?

When deciding on the type of water to drink, it's important to consider whether to opt for filtered or non-filtered water. Filtered water is generally preferred for its ability to remove contaminants like chlorine, heavy metals, and fluoride (no thanks!). Filters like those found in Berkey systems not only purify water but can also enhance its taste and safety by removing impurities while retaining essential minerals through a process known as remineralization. Non-filtered water, while sometimes containing naturally occurring minerals beneficial to health, may also carry potential risks depending on its source and treatment. 

What water filter do you swear by?

Need more support when it comes to your diet? Book our Naturopathic Starter Package or connect for a free 10 minute chat, here.


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