Sunday, June 29, 2014

How Much Water Do You Need?

We have all heard that you should drink 8 glasses of water a day for good health.  But is this true?  What if you drink coffee, tea and only 4 glasses of water a day?  Are you unhealthy?  Now that it is summer, paying attention to fluid intake is a good idea. 
How do you know if you are becoming dehydrated?  Thirst is the first sign of dehydration.  So if you are thirsty, get something to drink to replenish your body fluids.
Does coffee, tea count as fluid?  Yes.  Both are fluids that can help you stay hydrated.   Popular belief says these drinks contain caffeine so they don’t count as “fluids” or part of the 8 glasses a day.  But that isn’t true.  Researchers have found that the caffeine in these beverages doesn’t cancel out their hydration effects.
Does milk, juice or even foods like watermelon – other foods count towards our “water” intake?  Yes.  All liquids count towards your fluid intake.  Many foods have a high water content such as watermelon.   In fact, foods constitute about 22% of our water intake.
Is eight glasses of water a day a myth?  Yes, not a harmful myth but a myth nonetheless.  Way back in 1945 a study indicated we need 64 ounces of fluid a day, which is 8 glasses.  But this study also included all fluids such as coffee and tea and not just water.  If you want to drink 8 glasses of “water” a day, go ahead.  But if you want to drink 8 glasses of fluid a day, including your coffee, tea, milk, that is fine too.  Mostly, if you are thirsty, get something to drink to rehydrate yourself.
What are good “fluids” to drink to stay hydrated?
  • Water
  • Coffee or tea – unsweetened
  • Non-fat milk or low fat milk
  • 100% juice – up to 8 ounces a day
  • Sports drinks – for endurance athletes
Keeping hydrated is important but it doesn’t have to be drinking just water.  Enjoy that unsweetened ice tea, the Crystal Light Lemonade, and your ice cold water this summer.  

Sources:  How Much Water Do You Really Need?,  Image Source:  Water

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