The amount of water you drink could be a considered a barometer for your overall health; it energizes you, boosts your mood, treats headaches, aids digestion, and can even help with weight management. But as Well+Good points out, hydration isn't as clear-cut as the arbitrary eight glasses a day rule. "There are actually tons of factors that influence how much you need to drink on any given day, from the foods you've eaten to your pre- and post-work plans."
To set the record straight once and for all (and debunk a few myths along the way), the health and wellness site reached out to sports dietitian Marie Spano, MS, RD. "According to the Institute of Medicine, women need about 11 cups of liquid a day to stay hydrated, and that includes all sources of fluid—including food," Spano told the site. Coffee, tea, citrusy fruits, smoothies, and the like all contribute to the 11 cups equation.
But Spano was quick to point out that you don't have to spend the entire day meticulously keeping track of your water intake (though if you want to, apps like WaterMinder and MyWater make it easier!). In fact, simply making a mental note of the number of times you go to the restroom will tell you whether or not you're hydrated enough. “You should be going every two to three hours,” Spano says. “And you should be producing a good amount of urine, not just a few drops.”
And contrary to popular belief, the color of your urine has nothing to do with how hydrated you are. "There are just so many factors within food, including B vitamins, that can make your urine yellow," Spano explains. Long story short, pay attention to frequency rather than color when trying to determine whether or not you're adequately hydrated.
Pick up a S'Well bottle to keep drinking water top of mind, and share your favorite water-tracking app with us below!