How Much Water Should You Drink to Get Its 6 Major Health Benefits?


Water constitutes a high proportion of the human body’s weight and is ubiquitous in all parts of the body. It plays a crucial role in maintaining bodily functions and maintaining health. Studies have found that drinking water (in the correct ways and amount) can impact brain cognition, weight loss, and prevention of kidney stones, to name just a few.

According to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, water makes up about 60 percent of an adult’s body weight. According to a study (pdf) published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry in 1945, the water content in major body parts of an average adult is as follows:

  • Brain and heart: over 73 percent
  • Lungs: over 83 percent
  • Muscles and kidneys: over 79 percent
  • Bones: over 31 percent

It is a well-known fact that drinking water helps restore fluid lost through metabolism, breathing, sweating, and passing wastes. However, there are plenty of other less-known benefits to drinking water.

1. Improves Athletic Performance

study published in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism in 2017 pointed out that dehydration resulting in body weight loss by greater than or equal to 2 percent can significantly reduce performance in endurance.

In that study, researchers measured and analyzed the urine specific gravity before and after exercise of 430 collegiate or club-level athletes, and assessed their weight changes during the course. The study found that in an 18-hole golf game, players with noticeable dehydration took significantly more shots to complete a round than well-hydrated players. Athletes who started exercising well-hydrated scored higher overall than those who were dehydrated.

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The golfer hit a sweeping driver after hitting a golf ball down the fairway. (Shutterstock)

2. Affects Brain Function

The amount of water in one’s body also has a big impact on the brain. A 2012 study published in The Journal of Nutrition found that after mild dehydration (an average weight loss of 1.36 percent) in healthy young women, their vitality, fatigue, and general mood were adversely affected, with the increase in headaches and poor concentration.

Another 1988 study on young men also found that participants who were dehydrated by 2 percent or more of their body weight suffered a significant drop in mental functionalities such as short-term memory, numeracy efficiency, and performance in visual-motor tracking involving attention and focusing.

In addition, studies have also mentioned that dehydration may negatively impact memory and brain function in children and the elderly.

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An elderly woman sitting at the table and sorting jigsaw puzzle pieces, free space. (Shutterstock)

3. Potentially Improves Headaches

randomized, controlled trial published in the Family Practice journal in 2012 followed the status of 102 patients with chronic headaches for three months. The researchers randomly split the patients into a control group and a water-drinking group. The patients in the latter group had 1.5 liters (3.2 pints) added to their daily water intake.

The results showed that there was no apparent change in the number of days reported by patients in the water group with moderate headaches, but that drinking more water resulted in a significant improvement in migraine-specific quality of life (MSQOL). More research is needed to confirm whether increasing water intake helps improve headaches. However, the researchers suggested that headache sufferers try this noninvasive intervention for a short while to see if it helps.

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Feeling stressed. Frustrated handsome young man touching his head and keeping his eyes closed while sitting on the couch at home. (Shutterstock)

4. Helps Prevent Constipation

Lack of water can be one of the causes of constipation. Studies have shown that staying hydrated is an important way to prevent it.

5. Prevents Kidney Stones

review of studies published in the journal Nutrients in 2019 showed that increasing fluid intake can reduce the risk of kidney stones, and high fluid intake can also reduce the risk of kidney stone recurrence.

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At the doctor’s appointment physician shows the patient the shape of the kidney with a focus on the hand with the organ. (Shutterstock)

6. Aids in Weight Loss

Drinking water can help with weight loss, and laboratory studies show that drinking water while eating meals reduces hunger and increases satiety. Middle-aged and elderly people who drink water half an hour before meals can reduce their calorie intake during meals.

In a study published in the journal Obesity (Silver Spring) in 2010, it took middle-aged and elderly people (BMI 25–40 kg/m²) aged 55–75 as samples, who consumed a low-calorie diet for 12 consecutive weeks. It found that the participants who drank 0.5 liters (1 pint) of water before meals lost 44 percent more weight after 12 weeks than the control group that did not drink water before meals.

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Women show their weight loss. Isolated on blue background. (Shutterstock)

So How Much Water Should You Drink?

While “eight glasses a day” may be the most talked about, it may not be true for everyone, according to the Harvard School of Public Health.

The National Academy of Medicine recommends 13 and 9 cups of fluid per day for healthy men and women, respectively, where 1 cup equals 8 ounces. For people who are physically active or exposed to very warm climates, the required intake can be higher, and slimmer individuals may require less. The exact needs of fluids vary from one person to the other, and even from day to day.

Real Stories and Experiments Related to Water

More than 20 years ago, New Zealander Veda Austin was involved in a car accident that left her with a broken collarbone, ribs, whiplash, and internal bleeding. Half of the windshield was embedded in multiple parts of her body, and the internal bleeding left scar tissue in her small intestine that grew during the next few months, slowly severing her digestive system. Only a saline intravenous (IV) drip helped relieve her severe dehydration, nausea, and pain. After undergoing bowel surgery, Austin began adding a teaspoon of sea salt to her glass of water before breakfast daily.

In 2011, Austin established the Lemurian Wellness Clinic and began further research into the benefits of natural salt, water, and water alkalinity. She discovered that naturally alkaline water could be greatly beneficial, which prompted her to seek out the purest water source possible. Eventually, she found some pure water sources in New Zealand but cannot make them public due to certain confidentiality agreements.

In an interview, Austin shared with New Zealand’s Good magazine that drinking water had some amazing effects on her, giving her glowing skin in just three days and dramatically improving her digestive system. On days six and seven, she noticed some small bumps on one of her arms and her jaw, which were painful to touch. So she started adding a specific percentage of dissolved Himalayan salt for every liter of water. By the 10th day, she discovered that 27 small shards of glass that had been in her body for 20 years had been expelled from her skin.

Austin also mentioned that her water research was deeply influenced by the Japanese scientist Masaru Emoto.

Emoto has been taking photos of water crystals since 1994. He compiled all these photos of water crystals into a publication called “The Hidden Messages in Water,” which has been translated into more than a dozen languages.

In his research experiment, Emoto wrapped the paper with written words around the water bottle and observed the changes in water crystallization. The research results show that when the water “sees” graceful words such as “kindness,” “gratitude,” and “praise,” the water crystals will produce beautiful patterns. On the contrary, with negative words such as “hate,” “complaint,” and “pain,” the water crystals will take duller, less attractive shapes.

Emoto did many other experiments to show that water is a kind of message carrier, and it can respond to the messages conveyed by language, music, and text, and present different crystallization states as a result.

Important Notice: This article was originally published at by Cheryl Ng and Emma Yu where all credits are due.


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