Happy Healthy Hydrated: The Truth About Water & Wellness
Dec 30, 2015 11:16AM ● Published 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 DayYou 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 HydratedThe 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.