Drink more water……it’s advice you often hear. Why? How much? What’s the story here, really?

Let’s keep this simple…

Our bodies need water. Many of us (=most of us) do not drink enough. The result is slight dehydration, which may cause headache, dry skin, low energy, constipation, appetite changes, kidney problems, and more. Drinking more water improves energy, can dilute or flush-out some toxins, reduces appetite (or the body’s confusion between thirst and appetite), prevents headaches, improves skin complexion, and helps avoid muscle cramps. There may be other benefits but these are the probably the most important and the most proven.

But how much? All drinks except plain water and “pure” teas (green tea for example) do NOT count as water since they contain ingredients that can actually cause dehydration (e.g. caffeine causes your body to pass more urine and that dehydrates you). Some people advocate drinking HUGE volumes of water (3, 4, 5, 6, liters, etc.) but this would be excessive for almost all of us. A good guideline for most adults is to drink 1.5 liters to 2 liters a day. Maybe a bit more if it is hot and certainly more if you exercise (that’s another topic but about 500ml per hour of exercise works for most people).

A great guide to managing your hydration is to look at your urine. Yes, look at it. If it is dark (yellow, amber) you need to drink more water. A nice light, pale or clear urine is a good sign of adequate hydration.

So here is a simple guide: 1.5 to 2 liters of water a day and make sure your urine is clear (not dark).