Regardless of the season, an often-overlooked part of good health is drinking enough water. The human body is made up mostly of water, and it is important for daily living.
The popular rule of thumb regarding the amount of water we need each day — eight 8-ounce glasses for a total of 64 ounces each day — was re-evaluated with a 2004 consensus report from the Institute of Health.
The report states that thirst can be the guide to adequate daily hydration for the majority of healthy people. The report sets a general recommendation of 91 ounces a day for women at 91 ounces per day and 125 ounces a day for men. Remember, total water includes water that comes from the beverages we drink (80 percent) and the foods we eat (20 percent).
The report also disputes the popular opinion that caffeinated beverages cannot be counted as part of a person's total water intake. Total water needs can vary based on overall health, physical activity and living environment.
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Beverages contribute to the majority of our total water intake. If you don't like the taste of tap water, you might want to consider using a water filter, either one that attaches to your faucet or a stand-alone type. You also can buy water bottles with built-in filters. Disposable bottles are convenient but contribute to the landfill. Consider using a container from home that you can carry with you.
If you want a twist on regular water, consider using seltzer water. There also are a variety of flavored waters available, or you can add a flavor concentrate or sliced fruit, such as oranges and lemons, for flavor.
If you drink beverages that contain caffeine or sugar, and you have health conditions that require you to limit the amount of these products, speak with your health care provider about the right amount of these beverages for you.
The rest of our water intake comes from the foods we eat, mainly fruits and vegetables.
Getting enough water in our day doesn't have to be difficult. By making a conscious effort to drink enough water, we can contribute to overall good health for ourselves regardless of the time of year.