Water is everywhere these days. On the grocery shelf, you find it purified, distilled, flavored and enhanced. In your body, you’ll find it in every single living cell. The question is, can one drink enough and is the water you are drinking good for you?

General recommendations advise adults to drink at least eight, eight-ounce glasses of water a day. If you drink a lot of coffee or other beverages with caffeine, you may want to increase the amount of water you drink because caffeine, a diuretic, drives water out of your body.

Anne Christiansen Bullers, a contributor to the FDA Consumer Magazine, reports, “Water, of course, is essential to human health. Drinking enough water to replace whatever is lost through bodily functions is important. But surveys indicate that most of us might not be drinking enough.”

Getting hooked on the water habit.
While you know you need to drink more water, the trick is making a habit of it. These tips might make it a little easier:

  • Start your day with two eight-ounce glasses of water—you’re 25% there!
  • Keep a filter pitcher or large, spigotted container of filtered or distilled water in your fridge for easy access.
  • Serve water with all meals eaten at home.
  • Stop the soda pop habit. Drink water instead.
  • Ask for a glass of ice water when you dine out, even when you go through the drive-through.
  • Fill a large, sip-top water bottle to bring with you on your daily commute.
  • Whenever you crave a snack, drink a glass of water first. We sometimes confuse thirst with hunger, adding weight instead of water to our bodies.

By drinking the amount of water your body needs, you hydrate yourself from the inside out. You will not only prevent obvious signs of dehydration such as dry skin and premature aging, you will also bolster your health on a cellular level. You may experience better immune system function and noticeable improvements in bladder and kidney health. As you begin increasing your water intake, you may have to make more trips to the rest room at first; this need should subside once your body acclimates itself to getting the water it needs on a daily basis.

Which water to drink
Water does not have to be a major expense. In fact, the FDA reports that tap water and bottled water are both regulated for safety. One exception might be lead content. Bottled water manufacturers are held to lower acceptable lead amounts than municipal systems.

Another concern is fluoride. While dental health experts stress the importance of drinking fluoridated water to prevent tooth decay, a 2006 National Academies’ National Research Council (NRC) study found that Americans consume too much fluoride. It is in public water supplies, food, beverages, pharmaceuticals, dental products, pesticide residues and cigarette smoke.

The NRC found that too much fluoride can cause thyroid malfunction, mottled teeth and some types of bone cancers, as well as damage to bones, the brain, the endocrine system, the cardiovascular system and the gastrointestinal tract.

Municipal water systems often add chlorine to manage bacteria. Drinking chlorinated water may reduce the amount of beneficial bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. Distillation and reverse osmosis remove fluoride, chlorine and other minerals from drinking water.

Whatever your water of choice, drink to your health by drinking enough. In his book, The Hidden Messages in Water, Dr. Masuru Emoto says, “When we are born, we are 90 per cent water, and by the time we reach adulthood we are down to 70 per cent. If we die of old age, we will probably be about 50 per cent water. In other words, throughout our lives we exist mostly as water.”

Drink well!

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