2 litres of water per day or 8 glasses: that's a common guideline for how much water you should drink daily. The exact amount of water you should drink depends on several factors, such as the weather, your age, whether you also drink other beverages and whether you have exercised today.
How many litres of water should you drink in a day?
Nutritionists recommend drinking 1.5 to 2 litres of water per day. This guideline applies to people 14 years and older, but of course it also depends on other factors than age, such as the temperature and humidity, exercise, what you eat and your overall health.
It would actually be more accurate to say that you need to consume 1.5 to 2 litres of fluids every day in the form of beverages. Coffee and tea, milk or soy drinks, soft drinks and fruit juices all fall under the category ‘fluids in the form of beverages’. But the healthiest choice by far is (tap) water: it contains no sugar and zero calories.
How many glasses of water should you drink per day?
The advice of 1.5 to 2 litres of water a day comes down to 6 to 10 glasses of water (of 250 ml) per day. Hence, the well-known guideline ‘drink 8 glasses of water a day’. We therefore recommend that you take the idea of 8 glasses of water a day as a rule of thumb.
However, don’t keep too rigidly to the rule of 8 glasses of water a day. Your glass of milk and cup of tea also count towards your intake of fluids. For instance, if you drink 2 cups of tea, 1 glass of milk and 1 glass of fruit juice every day, you don't need to drink 8 glasses of water on top of that. It’s therefore better to keep in mind that you should drink about 6 to 10 glasses of fluid each day.
How much water should a child drink per day?
Children under the age of 14 should drink approximately 1 to 1.5 litres of water per day. Of course, this rule of thumb also depends on personal circumstances and the individual needs of each child.
Why it’s healthy to drink enough water each day
Being well-hydrated and drinking enough fluids has positive effects on your health. Hydration is essential for your bodily functions. It plays an important role in the absorption of nutrients in the intestine, in the transport of nutrients and waste products in your body and in regulating your body temperature, to name just a few things.
In addition, your skin stays smooth, radiant and elastic when you are sufficiently hydrated. You can also concentrate better, have more energy and are more alert if you drink enough water. Give it a try: replace your power nap with a glass of refreshing water, and you will notice that the water makes your thoughts clearer.
You risk dehydration if you don’t drink enough water
Did you know that your body is made up of more than 50 percent water? That just shows how important it is to avoid getting dehydrated. Even if you get dehydrated by just a few percent, you will have less energy and your body will not function as well.
Your body loses fluids all the time. This happens through breathing, sweating, urinating and defecating. There is no escaping the fact that your body loses fluid. Therefore, you need to replenish your body’s fluid levels every day so that your body can function optimally.
It is for good reason that your body loses fluids constantly. Perspiration, for example, regulates your body temperature. And every day you have to produce at least half a litre of urine, because that is the main way to remove toxins and wastes from your body. If you don’t drink much you will notice that your urine becomes darker in colour, because the concentration of wastes is higher. When you dehydrate, toxins build up in your body. And that, of course, is not healthy.
Tips for drinking enough water each day
Are you the kind of person who easily drinks 10 glasses of water a day? Or do you forget to drink enough water all the time? If you want to stay hydrated, it’s important to drink regularly. Unfortunately, it won’t do any good to drink 2 litres of water at once at the start of your day, because your kidneys can only process about 0.7 to 1 litre of water per hour.
So if you want your kidneys to keep doing their job properly and you want to prevent getting a headache from drinking too much water, the smart thing to do is to drink throughout the day instead of drinking a lot at once. How can you make sure you drink enough throughout the day? Here are some tips for you:
- Add a nice flavour to your water. Tap water is the best thirst quencher, but it may taste a little bland. With herbs, fruits and vegetables you can spice up your water without resorting to sugar-laden syrups or sodas. Try for instance lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit, mint, blueberries, ginger, strawberries, cucumber or watermelon. You can also experiment with tropical fruits or other fresh herbs, such as basil and thyme.
- Make it a habit to always have a bottle of water within reach. By this we do not mean opening a new plastic bottle of mineral water every time. Buy a nice reusable water bottle, made of hard plastic, metal or even glass, perhaps. You can refill it again and again with tap water. This is sustainable and it is healthy for you, because PET bottles release microplastics that enter your body together with the water you drink.
- Learn to recognize it when you are thirsty. The best way to stay optimally hydrated is to listen to your body. It will tell you when you need water. Did you know that many people misinterpret thirst as hunger? Try drinking a glass of water when you feel hungry. Maybe you were just thirsty!
- Link drinking a glass of water to certain other actions. For example, always consume a glass of water when you eat a meal or go for a refill when you get up from your desk.
- If you are really forgetful and just can’t manage to drink enough, you can set reminders on your phone. There are also special apps available that remind you at fixed times to drink. Be careful when using these apps that you don’t accidentally drink too much.
Can you drink too much water in a day?
Yes. It may sound a little strange, because water is healthy, right? But water poisoning is a real possibility. If you drink too much water and/or drink it too quickly, your kidneys can’t process it and the water will build up in your bloodstream and cells. This can cause headaches and swelling, as well as heart rhythm disorders, among other things. Water poisoning is therefore a serious problem that requires treatment in the hospital.
When should you drink more water?
In some cases it’s a good idea to drink more water than the guideline of 1.5 to 2 litres per day. If you pay close attention to your sense of thirst, you will know when your body needs more hydration.
In the following situations it is sensible to drink a little more water, because you are losing more fluid than usual:
- If you are drinking alcohol or have consumed alcohol
- When you are exercising or have exercised
- During warm weather and (extreme) heat, especially in combination with high humidity
- If you have eaten a meal high in salt or protein
- If you are sick and have been vomiting or have diarrhoea
- If you are pregnant
- If you are elderly (your kidneys do not work as well and therefore, in order to sufficiently remove wastes from your body, you need to produce about 700 ml of urine per day instead of 500 ml)