Hydrate with water

Water, fruits and vegetables can assist us in meeting our body’s daily requirement for hydration.

Water is something we seem to never quite get enough of, but how much water do we really need? The table below includes the necessary water intake established by the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) and the Institute of Medicine (IOM). Their recommendations are based on both gender and age and can be a starting point in determining your total water needs. Activity level, higher body weight and hot weather are all factors that need to be considered in addition to gender and age, so individual water requirements may rise above what is included on the table.

Daily Water Needs

Age Amount (Liters/day) Amount (Cups/day)
Children 1-3 1.3 5 1/2
4-8 1.7 7
Females 9-13 2.1 9
14-18 2.3 9 3/4
19+ 2.7 11
Males 9-13 2.4 10
14-18 3.3 14
19+ 3.7 15 1/2

These amounts may seem overwhelming when thinking of how much water you would need to drink, but drinking water is not the only way our bodies get it. There is also a lot of water in the foods we eat. Listed below are a variety of foods from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that contain a large percentage of water. Fruits and vegetables are some of the best sources.

  • Apple               84 percent
  • Broccoli           91 percent
  • Cucumber        96 percent
  • Pineapple         87 percent
  • Spinach           92 percent      
  • Peppers           92 percent
  • Tomato            94 percent
  • Strawberries     92 percent
  • Watermelon     92 percent

Even with these foods eaten regularly we often come up short in getting enough. It can be difficult to know how much water your body has absorbed through foods and how much is still needed. You can monitor your own water intake by watching your urine color. Dark urine is a sign of dehydration. A light lemonade color is a sign of optimal hydration and is what you should aim for.

The programs and resources through Michigan State University Extension can help you in increasing your water intake as well as reach other health goals.

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