Health Benefits of Drinking Water and Staying Hydrated

By Val Silver

how to stay hydrated

The health benefits of drinking water and staying hydrated are well-documented. There is little debate among experts that there is a significant relationship between water and health. However, experts do disagree about how much water we need, which types of water are best, and some of the benefits of drinking water. 

Benefits of Drinking Water

Why drink water?

Water is essential for life. We can survive for weeks or months without food, but only days without water.

It doesn't look it, but your body is approximately 70% water. That means the average 150 pound adult is made up of 40-50 quarts or 80-100 pounds of water. Brain tissue contains 85% water. Muscles are 75% water, blood is over 80%, and bones are 22% water. These cells need a ready supply of water to function properly and to live.

Water is not only located in your cells, but between the capillaries and cells. Interstitial fluid fills the spaces between most of your cells, accounting for 16% of your body's water. This fluid plays the vital role of carrying nutrients, hormones, gasses and water to the cells from the blood and waste products from the cells to the lymph.

Staying hydrated promotes normal functions in your body. Water is vital for proper blood circulation and cell health. It aids digestion, detoxification, temperature regulation, and electrolyte balance. Water stabilizes the heartbeat and normalizes blood pressure. An adequate water supply improves mental and physical performance. It cushions joints and vital organs. 

Signs of Dehydration

Your body alerts you when it needs water. Even a slight lack of hydration, as little as 2%, can cause unpleasant symptoms. Possible signs of dehydration include

  • dry mouth and hunger
  • darker urine, less frequent, scanter urination
  • headache, brain fog, dizziness
  • fatigue
  • weakness
  • joint pain
  • cold, clammy skin
  • thicker blood that is more difficult to circulate. This makes you more susceptible to palpitations and viral infections

How Much Water Do You Need? 

benefits of drinking water, glass of water

The amount you need to drink to get the health benefits of water depends on a number of factors.

The average adult uses about three quarts, or 12 cups of water a day for digestion, nutrient absorption, and toxin removal. 

Many experts agree that for normally active, healthy people, drinking ½ ounce of water per pound of body weight is ideal. That's eight to ten cups of water daily. The rest of your water needs are filled by vegetables, juicy fruits, meat and fish. 

In a large study conducted at Loma Linda University in California, researchers found that people who drank five or more glasses of water a day were less likely to die from a heart attack than people who drank less than two glasses.

For the most part, you don't need to track of your water consumption.

An easy way to tell if you are getting enough water is that you do not feel thirsty and your urine is light yellow in color during the day. Drinking copious amounts of plain water in a sitting is unwise - it can cause a potentially fatal electrolyte imbalance called water intoxication.

If you have a dry mouth, thirst and dark urine, drink more water or eat juicy fruits and vegetables.

You may need more water when you take certain medications or have a fever, blood loss, diarrhea or vomiting. Very warm or dry weather, alcohol, caffeine use, and exercise also increases your need for water. 

Note: Certain health conditions require you to limit and monitor water consumption. Please follow your physician's recommendations.

Tips for Drinking Water for Health

Optimize the benefits of drinking water by making these tips part of your healthy living habits.

  • Sip a glass or two of plain water first thing in the morning and before bed. Keep water by your bed for night time thirst. Don't worry, your bladder will adjust. If you don't like plain water, squeeze in fresh lemon or lime juice.
  • Filter tap water to reduce contaminants, such as chlorine, heavy metals, and pesticides. 
  • Keep fresh water with you at all times. Use refillable bottles with a built in filter for tap water. When possible, avoid disposable bottles and water that has been stored for long periods of time. 
  • Drink a glass of water a few minutes before meals to reduce hunger pangs and provide water for digestion. Take only small sips while eating so as not to interfere with digestion. 
  • Before you eat ask, "Am I really hungry or thirsty?" This simple question helps you cut excessive calories and aid healthy weight loss. 
  • Eat juicy fruits, melon, berries, cucumbers and other foods rich in pure water and system balancing electrolytes. Watermelon contains 90% water. Coconut water and watermelon are excellent sources of electrolytes and are rich in potassium. 
  • Drink water frequently when exercising heavily or while outside in a hot dry climate. This depletes your body of two liters of water an hour. 
  • Drink structured water. Structured water contains the minerals it needs to have a negative electrical charge. This is the natural state of water that has flowed over the earth's surface. Untreated water from wells and natural springs is structured. It appears that structure can be added to tap water by cooling it below 39 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Centigrade) or stirring it in a circular jar to create a vortex.  
  • All beverages contain water but not all beverages are good for you. Read the ingredients before drinking. Limit caffeinated, alcoholic, artificially-sweetened, and sugar-sweetened drinks. 


Drinking water for health is an important and easy habit to stick with. Experience the benefits of drinking water and staying hydrated by including healthy beverages, water, and plenty of water-rich foods in your daily diet. Listen to your body and trust it to let you know when and how much water you need.

Related Pages

Source: Interstitial Fluid 

Health Benefits of Drinking Water page updated 08/2022

For Educational Purposes Only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult with your health provider before using natural remedies and/or complementary therapies if you are pregnant, nursing, or you are being treated for a medical condition. Be aware that certain herbs and supplements interact with medications.

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