How To Tell If Your Body Is Getting Enough Water

Woman drinking water

Next to air, water is the substance most necessary for survival. Most everything in the body occurs in a water medium. Although people can live without vitamins and minerals for extended periods, death results within a few days without water.

Experts say that thirst is not a good indicator of when and how much water to drink. If that’s the case, how can I tell if I’m drinking enough water?

The following guidelines will help you determine whether to increase your fluid intake.


Check your urine. It should be clear or pale yellow. Dark-colored urine in small amounts is a sure sign that the body’s fluid needs are not being met.

NOTE: Some medicines and vitamin supplements can also cause dark urine.

Needing to urinate every two to four hours is a signal that your fluid intake is appropriate. Sometimes people limit fluid intake to avoid trips to the bathroom. This is a mistake. The bladder adjusts to the extra fluid intake.

If you’re eating lots of protein, your kidneys need extra water to flush out the waste products of protein metabolism.

Consume at least 8 to 12 cups of fluid each day. Water is preferred because it is absorbed faster than any other beverage. Juice, milk, and foods that are liquid at room temperature also count. Five servings of fruit and vegetables yield about 2 cups of water. Even solid foods, such as meats and bread, provide water. Alcohol and caffeinated beverages (coffee, tea, and colas) don’t count because they act as diuretics and increase the need for water.

If you don’t like your water from the tap, you can buy purified water, spring water, mineral water, distilled water, and drinking water by the bottle, six-pack, or case. Is there a difference between the various types of bottled water?

Here is a brief description of the common types of bottled water.


  • Distilled water comes from the stream of public water that has been boiled.
  • Drinking water is public or municipal water, such as tap water, and comprises 25 percent of bottled water. If the water comes directly from the tap without any treatment, the label has to identify the public source it comes from. If the water has been treated, no disclosure is required.
  • Mineral water is spring water that naturally contains at least 250 milligrams of dissolved minerals (like magnesium and calcium) per liter.
  • Purified water has been treated with distillation, ion-exchange, reverse osmosis, or a similar process.
  • Sparkling water is spring water that contains carbon dioxide gas (as in cola beverages).
  • Spring water comes from underground formations beneath the earth’s surface. It makes up about 75 percent of the bottled water sold in most parts of the world. Theoretically, spring water is protected from pollution.
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