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Your body is made up of about 50-80% water. Water is essential for most of your body’s functions, including to:


  • control your body temperature,
  • digest food,
  • carry nutrients,
  • remove waste,
  • protect your joints, and
  • maintain a healthy blood pressure.


As your body cannot store water you need to make sure you consume enough water each day.



Water is found in the foods we eat and the beverages we drink.


While plain water is the best way for most people to get their fluid intake, you can also get your fluid intake from drinks such as milk and milk substitutes, coffee, tea, soup and juice.



The amount of fluids you need depends on your age, weight, gender and life stage. You may need to increase your fluid intake if you are:

  • on a high-protein or high-fibre diet,
  • pregnant or breastfeeding,
  • vomiting or have diarrhoea,
  • exercising or sweating a lot, or
  • in a hot environment.


The table below shows how much fluid you generally need each day. These amounts include plain water, milk and other drinks.


  Fluid (L/day)                                                                                        
0-6 months 0.7 (from breastmilk or formula)
7-12 months 0.8 (from breastmilk, formula and other foods and drinks)
1-3 years 1 (~ 4 cups)
4-8 years 1.2 (~ 5 cups)
Girls (9-13 years) 1.4 (~5-6 cups)
Boys (9-13 years) 1.6 (~ 6 cups)
Girls (14-18 years) 1.6 (~ 6 cups)
Boys (14-18 years) 1.9 (~ 7-8 cups)
Women 2.1 (~ 8 cups)
Men 2.6 (~ 10 cups)



You can usually tell if you are not drinking enough fluids if:

  • you are thirsty or have a dry mouth,
  • your urine is a dark yellow colour and has a strong smell,
  • you feel light headed and tired, irritable, unable to concentrate or have a headache.


These are signs of dehydration, which can be easily fixed by drinking more water or other fluids. You can become dehydrated even before these signs appear so it is important to drink fluids throughout the day even before you feel thirsty.



It is possible to drink too much water as this can cause water intoxication. This is very rare, but can lead to:

  • headaches,
  • blurred vision,
  • cramps, and
  • possibly even death.


For this to occur, you would have to drink many litres in a short period of time.



The content displayed on this webpage is intended for informational purposes and is a guide only. It does not replace or substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Information contained on this webpage must be discussed with an appropriate healthcare professional before making any decisions or taking any action based on the content of this webpage.



Better Health Channel


National Health and Medical Research Council


Dietitians of Canada


Eat Right Ontario



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