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The Ideal Water Intake: It's Not Necessarily 8 Glasses a Day

The Ideal Water Intake: It's Not Necessarily 8 Glasses a Day

If asked about how much water is required to stay healthy, most people would quickly respond with the answer, “8 glasses a day.” According to Aaron E. Carroll, a professor at Indiana University School of Medicine, that’s a myth … and it never seem to go away.

In a New York Times article, Carroll said the eight glasses a day mantra probably gets its roots from a 1945 Food and Nutrition Board recommendation that people consume about 2.5 liters of water daily. However, he pointed out, they likely failed to notice the important sentence that followed: “Most of this quantity is contained in prepared foods.”

While there are differing opinions on how much water is enough, it is important to note that water is essential to a properly functioning body. Here are three important facts to note about our need for water:

1. Nearly 60 percent of the human body is made up of water. Livestrong suggests replacing about 2.4 liters of water a day through eating foods with a high water content and drinking water. Consumption of water helps maintain and protect organs, joints and other body systems and parts.

2. Water rids the body of bacteria and waste. Water helps move waste, bacteria and toxins through and out of the body.

3. Water is needed to carry nutrients to the body’s cells. Again, it is essential in the proper functioning of the body for this reason.

So, how much water is enough?

According to experts, the answer is “it depends.” Since there are other sources of water, including fruits, vegetables, juice, tea and other foods and drinks, fluid intake varies from person to person. However, the Harvard Health Letter recommends drinking 30 to 50 ounces a day — about the equivalent of four to six glasses of water.

It’s also important to consider your activity levels. If you’re highly active and, therefore, sweating a lot, you may need to drink more than others to replace the fluids you’re losing. Also, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding may need to drink more than four to six glasses of water a day.