How Much Water You Need to Drink

You may have heard that you should aim to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. How much you should actually drink is more individualized than you might think.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends that men drink at least 104 ounces of water per day, which is 13 cups. They say women should drink at least 72 ounces, which is 9 cups.

Still, the answer to exactly how much water you should drink isn’t so simple.

Water recommendations

While the eight glasses rule is a good start, it isn’t based on solid, well-researched information.

Your body weight is made up of 60 percent water. Every system in your body needs water to function. Your recommended intake is based on factors including your sex, age, activity level, and others, such as if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.


The current IOM recommendation for people ages 19 and older is around 131 ounces for men and 95 ounces for women. This is your overall fluid intake per day, including anything you eat or drink containing water in it, like fruits or vegetables.

Of this total, men should get around 13 cups from beverages. For women, it’s 9 cups.


Recommendations for kids have a lot to do with age.

Girls and boys between ages 4 and 8 years should drink 40 ounces per day, or 5 cups.

This amount increases to 56 to 64 ounces, or 7 to 8 cups, by ages 9 to 13 years.

For ages 14 to 18, the recommended water intake is 64 to 88 ounces, or 8 to 11 cups.

Women of reproductive age

If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, your recommendations change.

Pregnant women of all ages should aim to get 80 ounces, or ten 8-ounce glasses of water each day.

Breastfeeding women may need to up their total water intake to 104 ounces, or 13 cups.

Demographic Daily recommended amount of water (from drinks)
children 4–8 years old 5 cups, or 40 total ounces
children 9–13 years old 7–8 cups, or 56–64 total ounces
children 14–18 years old 8–11 cups, or 64–88 total ounces
men, 19 years and older 13 cups, or 104 total ounces
women, 19 years and older 9 cups, or 72 total ounces
pregnant women 10 cups, or 80 total ounces
breastfeeding women 13 cups, or 104 total ounces

Other considerations

You may also need to drink more water if you live in a hot climate, exercise often, or have a fever, diarrhea, or vomiting.

Add an additional 1.5 to 2.5 cups of water each day if you exercise. You may need to add even more if you work out for longer than an hour.

You may need more water if you live in a hot climate.

If you live at an elevation greater than 8,200 feet above sea level, you may also need to drink more.

When you have a fever, vomiting, or diarrhea, your body loses more fluids than usual, so drink more water. Your doctor may even suggest taking drinks with electrolytes to keep your electrolyte balance more stable.

Why do you need water?

Water is important for most processes your body goes through in a day. When you drink water, you replenish your stores. Without enough water, your body and its organs can’t function properly.

Benefits of drinking water include:

  • keeping your body temperature within a normal range
  • lubricating and cushioning your joints
  • protecting your spine and other tissues
  • helping you eliminate waste through urine, sweat, and bowel movements

Drinking enough water can also help you look your best. For example, water keeps your skin looking healthy. Skin is your body’s largest organ. When you drink plenty of water, you keep it healthy and hydrated.

And because water contains zero calories, water can be an excellent tool for managing your weight, as well.


There are risks of drinking too little or too much water.

DehydrationYour body is constantly using and losing fluids through actions like sweating and urinating. Dehydration happens when your body loses more water or fluid than it takes in.

Symptoms of dehydration can range from being extremely thirsty to feeling fatigued. You may also notice you aren’t urinating as frequently or that your urine is dark.

In children, dehydration may cause a dry mouth and tongue, lack of tears while crying, and fewer wet diapers than usual.

Dehydration may lead to:

Mild dehydration may be treated by drinking more water and other fluids.

If you have severe dehydration, you may need treatment at the hospital. Your doctor will likely give you intravenous (IV) fluids and salts until your symptoms go away.


Drinking too much water may be dangerous to your health as well.

When you drink too much, the extra water can dilute the electrolytes in your blood. Your sodium levels decrease and can lead to what is called hyponatremia.

Symptoms include:

Water intoxication hyponatremia is uncommon. People with a smaller build and children are at a higher risk of developing this condition. So are active people, like marathon runners, who drink large quantities of water in a short period of time.

If you’re at risk due to drinking large quantities of water for exercise, consider drinking a sports drink that contains sodium and other electrolytes to help replenish the electrolytes you lose through sweating.

The takeaway

Staying hydrated goes beyond just the water you drink. Foods make up around 20 percent of your total fluid requirements each day. Along with drinking your 9 to 13 daily cups of water, try to eat lots of fruits and vegetables.

Some foods with high water content include:

Tips for drinking enough water

You may be able to meet your water intake goal by drinking when you’re thirsty and with your meals.

If you need some extra help consuming enough water, check out these tips for drinking more:

  • Try carrying a water bottle with you wherever you go, including around the office, at the gym, and even on road trips. Amazon has a good selection of water bottles.
  • Focus on fluids. You don’t have to drink plain water to meet your hydration needs. Other good sources of fluid include milk, pure fruit juices, tea, and broth.
  • Skip sugary drinks. While you can get fluid from soda, juice, and alcohol, these beverages have high calorie contents. It’s still smart to choose water whenever possible.
  • Drink water while out to eat. Drink a glass of water instead of ordering another beverage. You can save some cash and lower the total calories of your meal too.
  • Add some flair to your water by squeezing in fresh lemon or lime juice.
  • If you’re working out hard, consider drinking a sports drink that has electrolytes to help replace the ones you lose through sweating. Shop for sports drinks.

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Hydration 101: What You Need to Know

As the temperature increases, so does your risk of getting dehydrated. We asked Ron DeAngelo, Director of UPMC Sports Performance, for his top hydration tips. Check out the infographic below to find out why you should stay hydrated.

Dehydration Symptoms

Dehydration happens when your body isn’t getting enough fluids. You can usually tell when you’re dehydrated, but common symptoms of dehydration include:

  • Decrease in energy
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Longer post-workout recovery
  • Upset or burning stomach

One of the most accurate signs is both color and volume of your urine. Next time nature calls, refer to the handy guide below.

Cumulative Hydration

Hydration is important over any period of time – days, weeks, or even months. It’s not really possible to “catch up” if you go awhile without drinking enough fluids. To keep your tank full, we recommend that men consume 100 ounces of water daily, and women consume 70 ounces. So, each day you go without drinking enough fluids, your supply goes down until you risk getting heat exhaustion or severe muscle cramps. Remember, these guidelines are based on normal activity levels, and should increase with more physical exertion. 

Fill ‘Er Up: How to Stay Hydrated

Here are a few tricks to keep your tank full:

  • Schedule it! Have a glass of water first thing in the morning and one hour before you go to bed.
  • Include a healthy-sized drink with every meal.
  • Avoid sugary drinks, soda, or alcohol.
  • More is not always better! Too much water can leave you feeling bloated.
  • Get most of your fluids from drinking. However, try fruits and veggies that are high in water content, including pineapple, watermelonblueberries, pears, grapefruit, cucumber, lettuce, celery, and tomatoes.

The Relationship Between Sweat and Dehydration

How you sweat also plays an important role in staying hydrated. Try this easy calculation:

  • Weigh yourself before and after a moderate workout, wearing the same clothing.
  • In ounces, determine the difference between pre-and post-workout weight. 1 pound = 16 ounces.
  • Add this number to how much fluid you drank during your workout.
  • Divide this by the length of your workout (number of hours).
  • The resulting number is your hourly sweat rate.

Now you know how much you need to drink every hour to replace your lost sweat!

Source: ~ By: SPORTS MEDICINE ~ Image:

The Importance of Hydration for Your Heart

Whether you’re vacationing on a tropical island or just hanging out in your backyard, chances are you are spending a lot of time outside this summer. Whether you’re enjoying reading a good book in your background with the sun beating down on you, or playing a rough-and-tumble game of summer touch football, it’s easy to work up a sweat and lose water as you soak up those rays.

To beat the summer heat, you must keep your body hydrated. Proper hydration is not only good for your brain, your mood, and your body weight, but it’s also essential for your heart.

Your heart is constantly working, pumping about 2,000 gallons of blood a day. By staying hydrated – i.e. drinking more water than you are losing – you are helping your heart do its job. A hydrated heart is able to pump blood more easily, allowing the muscles in your body to work even better.

Dehydration causes strain on your heart. The amount of blood circulating through your body, or blood volume, decreases when you are dehydrated. To compensate, your heart beats faster, increasing your heart rate and causing you to feel palpitations. Also your blood retains more sodium, making it tougher for it to circulate through your body.

So how much water should you drink to stay hydrated? It really depends on how much your body needs. Some situations where you should drink more water include:

  • If you are exercising or doing other physical activities.
  • If you have certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease.
  • If you are showing signs of dehydration, such as dizziness or weakness.

Please also keep in mind that certain medical conditions (such as heart failure) may require varying hydration strategies and consult with your physician as required.

Source: ~ By: Heart & Vascular Institute ~ Image:

Top 7 Essential Oils for Colds and the Flu Season

essential oils for cold and flu

While the fall and winter months bring spectacular beauty and holiday cheer, catching a case of the common cold or flu can quickly bring your spirits down. Luckily, there are many essential oils for colds and flu symptoms that can just as quickly bring your spirits back up by providing soothing, comforting relief and support healing.

Colds versus “the flu” – what’s the difference?

According to the Quick Reference Guide for Using Essential Oils by Connie and Alan Higley ¹ , influenza, also known as “the flu”, is a highly contagious viral infection of the respiratory system. Symptoms include high fever, dry cough, sore throat, muscle aches and pains, headache, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, and nasal congestion. Some viruses cause vomiting and diarrhea. Yuck!

Web MD ² describes the common cold as a less severe version of “the flu” and typically lasts for a few days to a week versus potentially weeks of symptoms which is common with influenza. It’s important to note that influenza can result in serious health conditions, like pneumonia, particularly for young and elderly people and folks with lung or heart problems. For a user-friend chart and more specific descriptions related to the difference between the flu and the common cold, follow the link in the footnotes of this article.

Essential oils can help alleviate symptoms and support the healing process, but do check in with a doctor if symptoms are persistent, or if you are vulnerable to complications, or are caring for someone who is vulnerable to complications.

Essential Oils for Common Cold and “the flu”

The following is a list of the top essential oils for the common cold and influenza compiled based on personal experience and research and includes a mix of strong popular essential oils to gentle ones and offers suggestions for home remedies to soothe symptoms.

  1. Thieves Essential Oil
    Thieves essential oil blend of lemon, eucalyptus, cinnamon, clove, and rosemary is a popular choice among essential oil enthusiasts. Sources recommend this essential oil for colds and flu symptoms because of its anti-bacterial, anti-infectious, anti-viral and antiseptic properties and is known to aid in eliminating symptoms from colds and flu quickly. It works wonders in combating chest congestion, stuffy noses, sore throats, and reducing fever. Diffuse, or put a few drops in a capsule or in a glass of water and drink for fast acting support in healing.
  2. Peppermint Essential Oil
    Peppermint essential oil is effective for soothing headaches, chest congestion and reducing fever. Apply a small amount on your temples to combat head pain and to the bottoms of your feet to reduce your fever. Rub on your chest for soothing relief of chest congestion. Peppermint essential oil is a great go to essential oil for cold and flu season. Make sure to dilute it with a carrier oil as this essential oil is strong.
  3. Lemon Essential Oil


    Lemon Essential Oil helps during Cold and Flu Season

    Lemon essential oil is a phenomenal decongestant and is known to be an effective antiviral agent. It’s fresh, uplifting vitamin-c infused scent can bring your spirits up when your down and out with a cold or flu. Add this drop of sunshine to your diffuser to enhance your well being while you’re feeling sick and purify the air to help you breathe better. According to an article titled, Essential Oils for Cough, Cold, and Congestion written by Jon Yaneff, CNP, for, a study published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy in 2001 ³, the antibacterial action of lemon oil was found to be effective against cold and allergy symptoms.

  4. German Chamomile Essential Oil
    German Chamomile is a gentle and soothing essential oil for colds and flu. This oil will help melt away tension and pain from headaches and muscle aches and pains. Diffuse in the air or add it to your favorite carrier oil and rub on your neck, shoulders, and feet, or put a few drops in a warm bath to soothe aching muscles and calm chest and throat pain. A warm compress on the back of your neck will also do the trick.
  5. Oil of Oregano
    Oil of Oregano is a popular essential oil for colds and flus and a long list of other ailments. This powerful essential oil is known to be as effective as antibiotics. Studies show its properties are antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-parasitic. Add a drop or two to water or juice and drink to decrease the effects of a sore throat and combat virus and infections, or add to a diffuser or vaporizer.
  6. Lavender Essential Oil
    Lavender is a common essential oil and its uses as an essential oil to aid in cold and flu symptoms are abundant. It is a gentle oil extracted from the lavender plant, which is part of the mint family. As an essential oil for colds and flu it has anti-septic and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s wonderful as a neck and shoulder rub to relax tense muscles and ease headaches. Place a few drops on a cotton ball and place under your pillow to help you get some much-needed rest. Add a carrier oil and create a decongestant rub. Lavender oil also has a ton of other benefits, so if you do add it to your medicine cabinet, it will continue to serve you even after cold and flu season is over. Read more here.
  7. Eucalyptus Oil
    Eucalyptus oil eases the respiratory system during colds and flu. Diffuse it to support breathing through stuffy noses or create a soothing rub with your favorite carrier oil for your chest and shoulders. Eucalyptus oil is often used in cough drops and ointments. Create your own home remedies with your favorite diffuser and carrier oils.

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10 Essential Oils for Healthy Living

Essential oils are an incredible medicine kit staple and they can often help you in a sticky situation. It’s always safe to understand the medical power behind natural herbs and ingredients.

1. Lemon

This tart fruit has cleansing abilities (natural disinfectant and antiseptic), so it can be used to help purify water, kill intestinal parasites, kill bacteria, soothe sore throat, and promote optimal liver function.

2. Lavender

This essential oil heals burns, cuts, relieves itchiness, insomnia, stress, inflammation, sunburns and soothes earaches.

3. Oregano

Effective in treating infections such as yeast infection. It’s also excellent for joint inflammation and pain from arthritis. Oregano oil can also kill warts, remove skin tags, improve athlete’s foot and also soothe symptoms of the cold and flu – it’s incredible for boosting your immune system to ward off flus in the first place!

4. Melaleuca

Useful as a topical ointment for skin irritations, bug bites, acne, athlete’s foot, eczema and psoriasis.

5. Peppermint

Peppermint helps relieve nausea, digestive issues, allergies, fever, and menstrual problems. It has also been shown to help with chronic headaches and muscle aches.

6. Helichrysum

Helps reduce bruising, sprains, and inflammation and also protects you against infections and virus. Helichrysum can also help heal your body’s natural healing process!

7. Myrrh

A natural antiseptic, myrrh can aid in treating minor cuts and abrasions, as well as bug bites and burns. It also stimulates your immune system and encourages blood circulation, which will help speed up your natural healing process and cell regeneration.

8. Lemongrass

Great for soothing cramping muscles and repelling bugs during the summer months!

9. Clove

This herb is a natural antibiotic so it can draw toxins and infections from your body. Clove has also been shown to reduce nausea, constipation, toothache pain and headaches.

10. Frankincense

This funny named herb reduces inflammation, relieves headaches, helps healing, reduces restlessness, hyperactivity and gives you clarity of mind.

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