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Water, drinks and your health

We need water for our body to work properly and for overall good health. For example we use water to:

  • maintain our temperature
  • remove waste
  • lubricate our joints

Different people will need different amounts of water to stay hydrated but most adults should aim to drink around 1.5 to 2 litres of fluid each day. That's 6 to 8 glasses or mugs.

Choosing healthier drinks

The best choices are water, lower fat milk and sugar free drinks including tea and coffee.

Drinks that are high in sugar such as fizzy drinks, fruit juice, smoothies and sports drinks and alcohol are often high in sugar and calories. Having too many calories make you more likely to gain weight. The sugar is also bad for your teeth.

Alcoholic drinks can also make you more dehydrated.

To help you make better choices about drinking alcohol visit our healthy weight page.

Dehydration

If you do not drink enough water you may become dehydrated which means your body does not have enough water to operate properly.

The colour of your wee may be a sign that you’re dehydrated. If it’s colourless or light yellow, you’re well hydrated. If it’s a dark yellow or amber colour you may be dehydrated.

You may be at higher risk of dehydration if:

  • you exercise at a high intensity for too long
  • you have certain medical conditions
  • you're sick
  • you're pregnant or breastfeeding
  • you're trying to lose weight
  • you're an older person. As you get older your brain may not be able to sense dehydration and does not send signals that you are thirsty and need to drink

Find out more about water, drinks and your health on the NHS website.