Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Are You Drinking Enough Water? 4 Ways to Know

Everywhere you look, there is a different “magic” number of glasses of water you should be drinking: Is it six glasses per day or is it eight?

glass of water
How many glasses of water do you drink in a day?

It can be very confusing and hard to decide if you are drinking the right amount.

Also confusing is the misconception that we must drink a certain amount of water, when in fact we only need to consume the right amount of fluid to stay hydrated. A fluid is any liquid, including coffee, tea, milk, juice, water and other drinks, but it also includes foods that are mainly water, such as some fruits, vegetables and soups.

It is very important to be well-hydrated for our bodies to carry out our daily tasks. A person's fluid needs are affected by a number of different factors, so there is no "magic" amount that you should be taking in. There are, however, many ways to tell if you are properly hydrated:

  • Urine: Your urine should be clear or a very light yellow color. A dark yellow indicates dehydration, so you will need to drink more water. Also you should need to use the bathroom every couple of hours.
  • Stool: It should be easy to pass your stool. If you are straining a lot, this may be an indicator of dehydration. If you have consistently loose stools, this may be an indicator of overhydration. Your body may not be able to handle the amount of fluids you are taking in and it will not be absorbed.
  • Skin: Your skin is also a good indicator of hydration levels. If you pull up the skin on the back of your hand and let go, it should bounce back to its original position quickly. If not, you may be dehydrated. Also, dry skin or a dry mouth may be indicators of dehydration.
  • Thirst: If you are thirsty, you are in need of more fluids for sure. If you never have thirst, it is still important to take in fluids and use the other tools to help determine your hydration levels.

Use these tools to help you decide how much water is right for you. If you would like more detailed or personalized information, make an appointment with a registered dietitian at Bastyr Center for Natural Health by calling (206) 834-4100.

— Natalie Libby, dietetic intern, and Debra A. Boutin, MS, RD, chair and dietetic internship director, Department of Nutrition and Exercise Science at Bastyr University.

Subscribe to Newsletters

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.

More Health Tips

Here are some ways to eat an inexpensive and well-balanced diet consisting of many nutritious whole foods.

Here's how to create a healthy posture to improve your health.

The main benefit of the Paleo diet is that it promotes eating whole, nutritious foods while avoiding refined, processed foods.

While tax season can be daunting and stressful, these are simple, easy ways to help lighten the load.

Behind the calm exterior of a doula is a person who is constantly thinking, strategizing and endeavoring to create an environment to support a pregnant, birthing or postpartum family.

With the recent buzz about gluten- and wheat-free diets, it’s good to know how they compare and if they’re right for everyone.

Events

Apr 21 Admissions

Take advantage of this opportunity to speak with an admissions representative and learn how Bastyr can help you build a career that helps create a healthier world.

Apr 22 Admissions

Take advantage of this opportunity to speak with an admissions representative and learn how Bastyr can help you build a career that helps create a healthier world.

Apr 23 Admissions

Take advantage of this opportunity to speak with an admissions representative and learn how Bastyr can help you build a career that helps create a healthier world.

Recent News

David Tolmie, BS ('06), MLIS, combines psychology and technology skills to help students navigate the fast-changing world of evidence-informed medicine.

Coquina Deger, MBA, and David Siebert fill key roles as part of President’s Cabinet

Herbal sciences students cook up foods with love -- and health-giving herbs -- in a popular lab class.

The actor and author joins us for a Q-and-A before her May 22 talk at Bastyr's Spring for Health Luncheon.

Spring 2014: There is a lot blossoming at Bastyr University

Press

Bastyr University Nutrition Faculty Member Receives Prestigious State Honor

The public is invited to a free community event to explore Bastyr University’s teaching clinic

Teaching clinic earns second consecutive year of stellar results in regional patient satisfaction survey

In the Media

FOX Q13: Bastyr University's Ellie Freeman Discusses the FDA’s New Food Labels
Bothell-Kenmore Reporter: Bastyr Center for Natural Health Expands Integrative Oncology Services
Puget Sound Business Journal: Bastyr University's President Daniel Church to Retire