Getting enough water in your diet is one of the most important steps you can take toward better health. Annie Ressalam, MD, an internal medicine doctor with Adventist HealthCare Adventist Medical Group, answers three frequently asked questions about water and how it supports healthy body function.

Q – Why do we need to drink water?

Dr. Ressalam – Water makes up about 60 percent of your body’s weight, making it one of the most essential elements your body needs to survive. Your body uses water to regulate your body temperature, lubricate your joints and to keep your organs functioning properly. Water also plays a big role in your digestive health. Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration, joint pain, and organ damage.

Q – How much water do I need to drink?

Dr. Ressalam – According to The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, women should consume about 11.5 cups of water a day and men should aim for 15.5 cups of water a day.

Q – What factors determine the amount of water I need?

Dr. Ressalam – Here are a few other factors that may require you to increase your water intake:

  • Spending time in hot environments – If you live in a hot climate or you work in the heat, you will need to drink more water to avoid dehydration.
  • Exercise – Drinking water during and after exercising helps your body to replace the water you lost while sweating.
  • Illness – If you have a medical condition that causes you to develop a fever, vomit or have diarrhea, your body needs more water to cool down and replenish lost nutrients.
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding – Your body needs extra water to support your changing body and to support the healthy growth of your baby.

Quick Tips to Help You Drink More Water:

  • Always carry a bottle of water with you.
  • Freeze your water bottles in advance to have ice cold water during the day.
  • Substitute other drinks with water to reduce your sugar and calorie intake.
  • Add lemon or lime to your water for extra taste.
  • Set a goal for how many fluid ounces you should drink a day.

Sources: Mayo Clinic, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only.  For additional information, consult your physician. Please feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.