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BY: Susan Crandell
For years, experts urged us to down eight big glasses of water a day. Turns out, that’s just one of those health myths that everyone has heard and no one can prove.
Researchers at Dartmouth Medical School combed through mountains of data and found no evidence to back it up. (They suspect it may have stemmed from an early misunderstanding from national nutrition guidelines.) The new, surprising, conclusion they reached: For most sedentary people who work indoors, 8 glasses may be too many.
Still, water is at the top of the food chain for good health, says registered dietician Wendy Bazilian, who has a doctorate in public health and is the co-author of The SuperFoods Rx Diet. “It’s the most important nutrient we consume. You can survive weeks without food, but only days without water.”
Water plays a role in many bodily functions: delivering nutrients and removing wastes from cells, stabilising body temperature and keeping our skin healthy and glowing. It’s important for oral health as well: Lots of water helps to minimise the plaque that can cause cavities and bad breath.
So if eight 225-ml glasses isn’t the right amount, what is? A good rule of thumb, says Bazilian, is to take in 225 ml for every 9.1 kg you weigh. But it needn’t all be drunk. A National Academy of Sciences report noted that while 80 percent of your daily water should come from beverages for proper hydration; the rest can be from water-rich foods.
How can you be sure you’re getting enough water? Follow these four easy tips every day, recommends Bazilian:
Susan Crandell writes about health for such magazines as Prevention. She is the author of Thinking About Tomorrow: Reinventing Yourself at Midlife, and her articles frequently appear in Oral Care and Health Daily (Australia & New Zealand).
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