Raise Your Glass

Raise Your Glass to the Wonders of Water

Who needs water? We all do! Every one of our body's cell and organ functions require water, so it's not surprising that it's essential for keeping our bodies running smoothly. I don't mean to gush, but look what water can do.

Water keeps our skin soft and supple. Through perspiration, it prevents our bodies from overheating. It keeps our eyes, nose and throat moist. It lubricates our joints and helps us maintain muscle tone. It helps transport food, vitamins and minerals through our body. It aids digestion and helps flush our system of toxic substances.

According to recent studies, those benefits might just be a drop in the bucket. Researchers claim chronic dehydration is linked to heartburn, fatigue, joint and back pain, headaches and other common illnesses, but drinking enough water every day can prevent those health problems—and others.

How Much Does an Individual Need a Day?

The traditional recommendation is eight 8-ounce glasses of water for a total of 64 ounces each day. But your body may need even more, depending on your weight, how much you exercise and the climate in which you live.

Conventional wisdom says caffeinated beverages that have a diuretic effect and promote water loss shouldn't be tallied in those eight daily glasses. But a recent study reported no difference in the hydration levels of people who drank only water and those who quaffed beverages with caffeine.

While there doesn't seem to be a definitive answer either way, you really can't go wrong with water. It has no side effects, it adds no calories, and it's inexpensive and plentiful.

The Cold Wet Truth

The benefits of water sound great, but could can you really down eight glasses a day? It seems like a lot of liquid.

So here's how you can work water into your day. Start by drinking a glass first thing. If you take vitamins in the morning with breakfast, that's a perfect opportunity to get your first glass (8 ounces down, 56 to go).

But if you're a coffee drinker, you can still drink a few cups. But sneak sips from a water bottle in between. If you don't empty a 20-ounce bottle by noon, finish it as you eat lunch (28 ounces down, 36 to go).

Where you might drink a soda in the afternoon, gulp a second 20-ounce bottle of water. It's cool, refreshing and you probably won't miss the cola (48 ounces down, 16 to go).

Since you may be in meetings or watching TV during the day, make a point of taking an extra sip from the water throughout the meeting or TV program. Try to drain the cup before it's over (56 ounces down, 8 to go).

When you have a glass of ice water with dinner, you'll have met the eight-glass goal without too much extra effort.