Posted on: January 20, 2020 at 12:09 pm
Last updated: November 24, 2020 at 7:05 pm

Are you drinking enough water each day? If not, there is no question that it can negatively affect your health. Hydration is vital to the body, in fact, our bodies are more than two-thirds water. So what does water do for you? It’s critical for nearly every function of the body. It acts as a transport medium for nutrients and waste, it is also a solvent for chemical reactions in the body.  Water helps to regulate body temperature, maintain blood volume and helps with proper blood circulation. Water also assists the body in maintaining healthy kidney function, as well as helping to lubricate the organs inner lining. (1)


So How Much Water Do You Need?

There are many factors that influence your daily water requirements, including gender, age, physical activity level, and overall health. A daily general guideline is 2.7 liters (91.298 ounces) for adult women and 3.7 liters (125.11 ounces) for men. (2)

To estimate how much water you should drink daily to maintain a healthy amount of water in your body, divide your weight in pounds by 2 and drink that amount in ounces.  For example, a 180-pound person should aim for 90 ounces of water a day. (3, 4)


What if you exercise? The American College of Sports Medicine suggests that you add 12 ounces of water to your daily intake for every 30 minutes that you plan to exercise.  (3)

The body naturally maintains healthy water levels by excreting excess water in urine. The more you drink, the more urine is produced in the kidneys. If you don’t drink enough water, your body will conserve fluids in order to maintain the appropriate water level. 

Not drinking enough water raises the risk of dehydration and possible harm to the body.

Percentage of Water in Adults

The percentages in the body vary due to numerous factors including weight, gender, and age. This chart shows the average total water in your body as a percentage of body weight, as well as the ideal range for good health. (5)


Water as a Percentage of Body Weight in Adults:

AdultsAges 12 to 18Ages 19 to 50Ages 51 and older
Maleaverage: 59
range: 52%–66%
average: 59%
range: 43%–73%
average: 56%
range: 47%–67%
Femaleaverage: 56%
range: 49%–63%
average: 50%
range: 41%–60%
average: 47%
range: 39%–57%

Percentage of Water in Body Organs and Tissues:

Body partWater percentage
brain and heart73%
muscles and kidneys79%

Although not included in the above chart, plasma (the liquid portion of blood) is about 90 percent water. Plasma helps to carry blood cells, nutrients, and hormones throughout the body. (5, 6)

Benefits of Hydration

As previously mentioned, there are numerous benefits of staying hydrated including maintaining body temperature, energy levels, preventing constipation, alleviating cramps and sprains, reducing the frequency of headaches and migraines, eliminating toxins, minimizing heartburn and kidney stones. Staying hydrated will help your body to perform at peak level and can help you to:

Boost your brain– Studies in both children and adults, drinking water can help during cognitive tasks. In fact, studies show that even mild dehydration can impair cognitive function. So consider sipping on some water, while working at your desk, studying or any task that involves brainpower.  (7, 8)

Improve your mood– This study involved participants who normally drank less than 1.2 liters of water a day to increase their intake to 2.5 liters per day, these individuals experienced significantly less confusion, disorientation, lethargy, and sleepiness. The other half of the group who normally drank two to four liters of water per day were restricted to one liter per day, the reduced water intake led to negative effects on mood, including decreased calmness, decreased feelings of contentment, and less positive emotions. (9)

Improve physical performance levels– Obviously, the body uses significant amounts of water during physical activity. Drinking water can reduce your maximum heart rate, fatigue and actually improve your endurance levels, as well as helping your body to feel less sore after strenuous workouts. (10, 11)

Protect against diseaseStaying hydrated helps protect your body against health issues such as constipation, kidney stones, urinary tract infections, exercise-induced asthma, coronary heart disease and more. (12)

Lose weight– Water consumption helps with meal energy intake for middle age and older adults. Studies shows that people who are dieting lose more weight when they increase their water intake. In the study referenced, participants on weight loss diets who drank 500 ml (16.90 ounces) of water before each of their daily meals for 12 weeks on average lost 4.6 more pounds than individuals who did not drink the additional water. (13)

Read: Your Favorite Cheeses Ranked from Healthiest to Unhealthiest

Hydrating Foods

While water is the best option for hydrating your body, it’s not the only choice. There are numerous fruits and vegetables with high water content that can help keep you hydrated. (14) Some of the foods with the highest water levels are included in this list:

  • Lettuce-96%
  • Coconut Water-95%
  • Cucumber-95%
  • Celery 95%
  • Zucchini-94%
  • Watermelon92% 
  • Cauliflower-92%
  • Cabbage-92%
  • Cantaloupe-90%
  • Peaches-89%
  • Oranges-88%
  • Grapefruit-88%


Water has a profound impact on our overall physical and emotional health. It is an essential factor in maintaining life and health.

While water is the best option for hydration, fruits and vegetables are also a great source for keeping your body in peak condition. 

Read More: 50+ of the Most Nutrient-Dense Everyday Foods on the Planet

  1. 1. F, J. (2020). Water as an essential nutrient: the physiological basis of hydration. – PubMed – NCBI. [online] Available at: [Accessed 7 Jan. 2020].
  2. Home | The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine | | Where the Nation Turns for Independent, Expert Advice. (2020). Retrieved 7 January 2020, from
  3. How to calculate how much water you should drink | University of Missouri System. (2020). Retrieved 7 January 2020, from
  4. Body Water Percentage: Average, Ideal, How to Maintain and Determine. (2020). Retrieved 7 January 2020, from
  5. Body Water Percentage: Average, Ideal, How to Maintain and Determine. (2020). Retrieved 7 January 2020, from
  6. Blood Components | Community Blood Center. (2020). Retrieved 7 January 2020, from
  7. Edmonds CJ, e. (2020). Water consumption, not expectancies about water consumption, affects cognitive performance in adults. – PubMed – NCBI. Retrieved 7 January 2020, from
  8. BM, R. (2020). The Hydration Equation: Update on Water Balance and Cognitive Performance. – PubMed – NCBI. Retrieved 7 January 2020, from
  9. Effects of changes in water intake on mood of high and low drinkers. (2020). Retrieved 7 January 2020, from
  10. Cleary MA, e. (2020). Dehydration and symptoms of delayed-onset muscle soreness in normothermic men. – PubMed – NCBI. Retrieved 7 January 2020, from
  11. Von Duvillard SP, e. (2020). Fluids and hydration in prolonged endurance performance. – PubMed – NCBI. Retrieved 7 January 2020, from
  12. A, M. (2020). The importance of good hydration for the prevention of chronic diseases. – PubMed – NCBI. Retrieved 7 January 2020, from
  13. Dennis, E., Dengo, A., Comber, D., Flack, K., Savla, J., Davy, K., & Davy, B. (2020). Water Consumption Increases Weight Loss During a Hypocaloric Diet Intervention in Middle-aged and Older Adults. Retrieved 7 January 2020, from
  14. 19 Water-Rich Foods That Help You Stay Hydrated. (2020). Retrieved 7 January 2020, from
Elisha McFarland
Doctor of Naturopathy
Elisha McFarland, N.D. is the founder of My Health Maven. She turned her debilitating illness from mercury poisoning into a dedicated passion for helping people.

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