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Happy Healthy Hydrated: The Truth About Water & Wellness

Dec 30, 2015 11:16AM ● By Becca Newell
By Becca Newell

We know hydration is important and the best way to stay hydrated is by drinking water. It comprises more than 60 percent of our body weight (starting at 75 percent in infancy and decreasing with age to about 55 percent) and offers numerous health benefits. But how much should we be drinking? Do other liquids count? Below, we bust a few hydration myths and find ways to encourage daily water consumption. Drink up!

Drink Eight Glasses a Day

You can bid adieu to this adage. The general rule of thumb nowadays is to divide your body weight in pounds to calculate the amount of water in ounces you should be drinking on a daily basis. So, for someone who is 150 pounds, they should drink about 75 ounces—or a little over nine glasses—of water every day.

Clear Urine Means You’re Well Hydrated

The color of urine can be a good indication of hydration levels, but clear urine isn’t ideal. Instead, doctors recommend urine should be pale yellow. But don’t forget, certain foods, supplements, and medications can affect the color of your urine!

Do Other Beverages Count?

Results from one study, in which participants engaged in two trials—one where a mix of water, juice, coffee, and sodas were consumed and another limited to juice, coffee, and sodas (no water!)—found no differences in hydration levels, suggesting the body hydrates from liquids other than drinking water. The study explains that water, as a nutrient, is present to some degree in beverages like juice and coffee, in addition to most foods, and is absorbed by the body in a similar fashion to drinking water. However, selecting water over sugary drinks may help to prevent weight gain and dental cavities typically caused by consumption of sodas, etc.

Fluoridation in the U.S.

In 1962, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services developed a recommended optimum range of fluoride concentration in drinking water (0.7 to 1.2 milligrams per liter of water) to help prevent tooth decay. As access to fluoride has increased (in sources, such as toothpaste and mouthwash), so have cases of fluorosis—a change in tooth enamel that occurs as permanent teeth develop, later appearing as white flecks or spots once teeth have grown. To help curb this condition, the department announced last year that the optimal amount of fluoride in drinking water is now 0.7 milligrams per liter of water.

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An easy way to encourage regular water consumption is to keep it on you at all times. Here are our picks for reusable bottles.

For the Chic Consumer

This coveted beauty essential by bkr is made of glass and silicone. BPA-free, phthalate-free, and dish-washer safe, it’s available in a range of colors, designs, and sizes (from 1-liter to 250-ML), making it perfect for the big and little sipper.

For the Water-Hater

Prefer sodas and juice over water? Try diffusing H2O with some fruit or herbs for a tasty treat that’s low in sugar and calories. This one from Define Bottle is made from stain-resistant, odorless, and tasteless Tritan, that’s also BPA- and phosphate-free.

For the Commuter

The Hydro Flask keeps liquid cold for 24 hours and hot for six, making it the perfect travel buddy. This BPA-free, stainless steel bottle also boasts a sweat-free exterior finish, so you can toss it in your bag without worry.