Water is necessary for carrying nutrients to your cells, flushing bacteria from your system, preventing dehydration, and replacing fluids lost from sweating. In addition to flushing and cleansing the body, water maintains body temperatures; transports vitamins, minerals, hormones; and lubricates joints, eyes, and intestines. The body is about 60% water and we’re constantly losing water from our bodies, primarily via urine and sweat. This is why it is important to maintain proper hydration so that our bodies can effectively function. The health authorities commonly recommend eight 8-ounce glasses, which equals about 2 liters, or half a gallon. This is called the 8×8 rule and is very easy to remember.
The Harvard Health Letter recently published new water recommendations challenging the long-standing eight 8-ounce glasses-a-day rule and now recommends drinking 30 to 50 ounces a day, which is equivalent to approximately four to six glasses of water. However, the team isn’t just recommending water to drink at this optimal standard, but fluids in general to aid in hydration. Even certain foods like watermelon, lettuce, spinach, and soups provide the body with fluids that can work in tandem with water to retain and process a healthy amount of water. Ultimately, consider your overall fluid intake. This includes not only tap and bottled water —but, yes even coffee and tea.
Fluid needs are dynamic and need to be individualized from person to person. Factors such as physical activity, environmental conditions, level of heat acclimatization, exercise or work intensity, age, and even diet need to be considered. What this means is that simply listening to your thirst is the best way to gauge when to drink. Don't ignore your thirst -- it's a sign your body needs more water. Some signs of dehydration may include weakness, dizziness, heart palpitations, sluggishness, fainting, or heart palpitations. Another way to monitor hydration is to look at your urine before you flush. You want it to look paler than lemonade; if it’s darker than that, you should down a glass.