Water

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Your body needs water to stay alive! Water makes up 40-60% of your body depending on age and gender. Your body uses water to:

  • Digest food
  • Carry nutrients to cells
  • Regulate body temperature
  • Prevent constipation

For hydration, drink water, unsweetened tea, low‐fat or fat-free milk, and 100% juice. People can also get water from non‐caffeinated beverages. Remember to limit added sugar and calories that come with sweetened beverages for overall health.

Many foods also contain water such as:

  • Iceberg lettuce, radish, celery, watermelon ,and broccoli are 90% water
  • Milk, carrots, oranges, apples, and cooked cereals are 80% water

How much water should I consume?

There is no recommendation for how much plain water adults and youth should drink daily. But there are recommendations for daily total water intake from foods and beverages including water.

Daily Total Water Adequate Intake (AI)

  • Children
    • 1-3 years old
      • 1.3 Liters (L) of total water. This includes about 3.75 cups (0.9 L) as total beverages, including drinking water
    • 4-8 years old
      • 1.7 Liters (L) of total water. This includes about 5 cups (1.2 L) as total beverages, including drinking water
  • Males
    • 9-13 years old
      • 2.4 Liters (L) of total water. This includes about 7.5 cups (1.8 L) as total beverages, including drinking water
    • 14-18 years old
      • 3.3 Liters (L) of total water. This includes about 11 cups (2.6 L) as total beverages, including drinking water
    • 19-70 years old
      • 3.7 Liters (L) of total water. This includes about 12.5 cups (3 L) as total beverages, including drinking water
  • Females
    • 9-13 years old
      • 2.1 Liters (L) of total water. This includes about 6.75 cups (1.6 L) as total beverages, including drinking water
    • 14-18 years old
      • 2.3 Liters (L) of total water. This includes about 7.5 cups (1.8 L) as total beverages, including drinking water
    • 19-70 years old
      • 2.7 Liters (L) of total water. This includes about 9.25 cups (2.2 L) as total beverages, including drinking water
    • Pregnant
      • 3.0 Liters (L) of total water. This includes about 9.75 cups (2.3 L) as total beverages, including drinking water
    • Breastfeeding
      • 3.8 Liters (L) of total water. This includes about 13 cups (3.1 L) as total beverages, including drinking water

Source: Institute of Medicine 2005. Dietary Reference Intakes for Water.

Dehydration

Drink water throughout the day, don’t wait until you feel thirsty. 10% of fluid loss can cause serious health problems; 20% can cause death.

Signs of dehydration can include:

  • Dry lips and tongue
  • Decreased urination
  • Dry skin
  • No tears

Tips to increase your water intake

  • Always carry a water bottle with cold water
  • Keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator – try to finish it by the end of the day
  • Serve water at every meal
  • Add flavor with mint leaves or slices of lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit, cucumbers, apples, berries, melon, pineapple or fresh ginger
  • Add a splash of 100% fruit juice to your water 
  • Squeeze a small amount of fresh orange, lemon, or lime juice into your water
  • Make ice cubes with 100% juice and add them to your water
  • Too cold for water? Try warm water flavored with lemon juice

Teach your child healthy drinking habits

  • Tips to keep your child healthy
  • Offer water and milk
  • Serve water in a fun cup
  • If offering juice, limit to ½ cup per day and only 100% juice
  • No soda, pop, or fruit drinks
  • Set a good example, remember they see what you drink

Source: USDA Infant Feeding & Nutrition – A Guide for Use in WIC & Institute of Medicine-Dietary Reference Intakes for Water

This post was last updated on March 3rd, 2021 at 11:39 AM

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