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Water is an important part of your body. In fact, it makes up more than 60 percent of your body weight. Among other functions, water:
Without water, you would die in a few days. So it's important that you get enough water. But how much water is enough? Experts generally recommend that you drink six to eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid every day. But it doesn't have to be all water. You could satisfy some of your fluid needs by drinking milk, tea, soda, coffee, or juice, which are composed mostly of water. Just remember that juice and sodas are high in sugar. Many fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon and tomatoes, are also mostly water.
If you're being physically active and sweating a lot, you'll need more fluid. You'll also need more if the weather is hot. Women who are pregnant should drink about 10 cups of fluids daily. And women who breastfeed should drink about 13 cups of fluids daily.
It's generally not a good idea to use thirst alone as a guide for when to drink. By the time you're thirsty, you may already be a bit dehydrated. On the other hand, you don't need to be constantly carrying around water bottles and drinking lots of water. You are probably getting all the fluid you need if you are rarely thirsty and you produce a little more than six cups of colorless or slightly yellow urine a day. Dark urine can be a signal that you need more fluid.
Content last updated: June 17, 2008.