University of Massachusetts Amherst

It's MORE Than A Meal

Drink Enough Fluids

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why are fluids important?

Translations of Fact Sheet

The human body depends on water. Water helps carry nutrients to body cells, helps control body temperature, and helps prevent constipation. It also makes it easier to chew and swallow foods.

Every day, our bodies lose water. We need to drink fluids to replace what is lost and to keep body fluids in balance.

how does aging affect fluid needs?

Each day, most adults need about 1½ to 2 liters of fluids. Yet it is hard for some older adults to meet fluid needs. Some older adults don’t feel thirsty, or don’t want to drink too much. Others take medicines that can cause extra fluid loss. Examples are diuretics and laxatives.

It is important for all of us to drink enough fluids each day.

what happens if someone doesn't get enough fluids?

A low fluid intake can lead to dehydration. This can be a serious health problem. Moderate dehydration can lead to muscle contractions, convulsions, fainting, and a rapid pulse. Severe dehydration can even cause death.

drink enough fluids

Each day, drink at least 6 to 8 cups of fluids. Here are some ideas:

  • Plain water
  • Water flavored with lemon
  • 100% fruit or vegetable juice
  • Soup or broth (low-salt or low sodium)
  • Seltzer water (plain, flavored, or mixed with juice)
  • Decaffeinated coffee or tea

ask your health care provider for specific advice

If you have a medical condition, talk to your doctor. Find out how much fluid you should drink every day.

If you take medicines, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. Ask whether the medicines affect your fluid needs, and whether you need to adjust your fluid intake.

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Developed for the Massachusetts Department of Education Child and Adult Care Food Program by the University of Massachusetts Extension Nutrition Education Program. Permission is hereby granted by the Massachusetts Department of Education to copy any or all parts of this document for non-commercial educational purposes. The Massachusetts Department of Education, an Affirmative Action employer, is committed to ensuring that all of its programs and facilities are accessible to all members of the public. We do not discriminate on the basis of age, color, disability, national origin, race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation.