As the primary component of our blood, spinal fluid, digestive fluid and cells, water is the major way nutrients and wastes are transported throughout the body. It's tremendously important in maintaining a healthy body temperature, especially in hot weather.
Water comprises 60 to 65% of your entire body weight so there's little wonder why it's so important for health. The sources of water are easy. It's part of ANY fluids you drink. It's also a major part of a lot of foods, especially fruits and vegetables. Individual water intake needs vary widely, based in part on level of physical activity and exposure to heat.
Recommended Water Intake
Although the Institute of Medicine has set a recommendation for daily water needs, it's an average. Some individuals need more and some less. The recommended amount for adult men is 3.7 liters (about 16 cups) and adult women is 2.7 liters (about 11 cups) per day. Note: This includes water from all foods and beverages including drinking water, tea, coffee, soda, juice, milk and water-rich foods like fruits and vegetables.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest that in order to limit excess calories and maintain a healthy weight, we should drink water and other beverages with few or no calories. This is addition to the recommended amounts of low-fat or fat-free milk and 100% fruit juices.
Did You Know?
Beverages contribute substantially to the calorie intake for most Americans.
Although they provide needed water, many beverages add calories to the diet without providing essential nutrients, especially regular sodas, fruit drinks and alcoholic beverages.
Other beverages, however, such as fat-free or low-fat milk and 100% fruit juice, provide a number of nutrients along with the calories they contain. Currently, American adults ages 19 years and older consume an average of about 400 calories per day as beverages. The major types of beverages consumed by adults are: regular soda, energy and sports drinks, alcoholic beverages, milk (including whole, 2%, 1%, and fat-free), 100% fruit juice and fruit drinks.