How much water to drink during a heatwave

Drinking water is always important – but most of us don’t realise how much more we need when the temperatures begin to soar.

We asked nutritionist Alex Woods, who’s working with itsu to keep us all healthy and hydrated this summer, how much water to drink during a heatwave – and she says its actually pretty personal…

How much water to drink during a heatwave

‘We all know the 8 glasses per day rule, which is a good guide but can’t be applied to everyone,’ Alix says.

Getty Images

‘Hydration is a very personal bodily process and is dependent on an individual’s health, diet, climate (environment) and physical demands.

‘The everyday guide, according to findings from the Institute of Medicine, are 13 cups or 3 litres for men and 9 cups or just over 2 litres for women. So when a heatwave hits, the recommended cups plus a few more may be a guide.

‘However, as we are all different, and depending on what we’re up to, the key would be listen and look to your body to meet its own individual hydration needs.’

So, how can you tell when you need to top up your hydration levels? ‘This is done by looking at the colour of your urine,’ advises Alex. ‘Aim for pale yellow. The paler the better.’

How to stay hydrated during a heatwave

Alix’s most important advice is also the most simple: ‘Keep sipping water and keep it close to hand. Top up often.’

Getty Images

However, she says that we can ‘eat plump, juicy, cooling fruit, like melons, grapes and nectarines – and don’t forget the importance of vibrant vegetables like leafy greens, cucumber and celery sticks, which are watery but nutritious.’ Fruits and vegetables are full of water balancing electrolytes, especially potassium and help replace ‘water’ lost from sweating.

‘Remember, all drinks count towards our daily hydration water quota but some are of course better than others,’ she adds. ‘Sodas, smoothies and cordial all contain sugar which may add unnecessary calories, whereas herbal and fruit teas are hydrating and sugar free. Be wary of caffeine and alcohol as these increase water loss and also deplete the body of nutrients.’

How to tell if you’re dehydrated

‘Should you experience “extreme” thirst then you really need to top up your levels,’ Alix concludes.

‘The colour of your urine is a good indicator too. The darker it is the more likely you are to be dehydrated. Feeling fatigue, confusion and light headed, may all be signs your cells are needing a serious watering.’