How Much Water Do You Really Need? And How to Get More of It

lemon and mint ice cubes

Headaches, fatigue, mental fogginess and lack of physical strength—what do they have in common? They’re all signs that your body is dehydrated and desperately craving water. As you may know, the human body is primarily made out of water—up to 60% for adults. In addition to sensible eating, monitoring sugar intake and regular exercise, drinking the right amount of water should be a primary focus of any health and fitness regimen. 

Most of us already down a few cups in any given day, but how much water do you really need? Like most things in health, there are many different schools of thought governing how much water you should drink every day. To get a rough guideline of your daily needs, use this simple calculation:

how much water calculation

Now, if your calculation seems like a lot, you’ll be happy to know that you don’t have to drink all that water since approximately 20-25% of your intake will come from the foods you eat. Consider this your baseline for water intake—drink more water if you eat a lot of processed foods or work out regularly. 

Surprising Facts You Might Not Have Known About Dehydration:

  • Your body confuses thirst for hunger. So sometimes you think you’re hungry when you’re actually thirsty. This could explain all those endless late night snack sessions, when nothing would sate your ravenous appetite. Drinking more water reduces mindless snacking and helps you feel full for longer.
  • Studies show that if you’re only 1 percent dehydrated, you can have up to 5 percent loss in cognitive function. Dehydration also reduces mental clarity, creativity, problem-solving skills and even quality of sleep. 
  • Being dehydrated makes working out harder, and more painful. Well-hydrated muscles are also more efficient, meaning your heart doesn’t need to work as hard. You’ll be blown away by how much your endurance increases when you’re well-hydrated. 

cucumber orange water mason jar

But I get it — water is boring. So, here are some tips and tricks to help you drink more of the good stuff.

Infuse Your Water with Fresh Fruit

You can always add fresh slices of cucumber or lemon to your water, but these tried and true combinations are MUCH tastier:

  • Cucumber and orange (my favorite)
  • Strawberry and basil
  • Lightly muddled mint (avoid the stems, since they’re bitter)

Make Fruit Ice Cubes

Another way to punch up your water is to make fruit flavored ice cubes. As they melt, they’ll infuse the water with vitamin-enriched goodness. In the photo above, I twisted thin slices of lemon and mint before adding water to my ice tray. It is super easy, and a great touch for parties or entertaining. If you want to get even fancier, you can check out these novel ice cube ideas (coffee ice cubes — genius). 

Flavor Sparkling Water with Splashes of Fruit Juice

When I was kicking my soda habit, I added dashes of orange juice to sparkling soda. I got my bubbly fix, without all the chemicals or sugar that comes with soda. It’s a great alternative to mineral water or diet sodas as well.

So drink up! And cheers to a well-hydrated, more awake and healthier you.