Just like cars need oil to keep running properly, our bodies need water to keep running. In fact, water is necessary for every metabolic process in our body. But there’s a lot of misinformation out there. So, here are a few facts you need to know about staying hydrated:
First: You don’t necessarily need eight glasses of water a day. Officials with the Institute of Medicine recommend about cups cups per day, but they point out that we consume a lot of water through food like soups and produce. And most of us get plenty of hydration by drinking when we’re thirsty.
Then good news for coffee lovers: Caffeine doesn’t dehydrate you. New research shows that drinking two cups of coffee will only minimally increase urine output for about three hours. Also if you always have a latte in the morning or a soda at lunch, your body is used to the caffeine, so it hardly affects your physiology.
Then athletes – take note. There are times you’d be smart to ditch water for a sports drink. For example, if you go on an hour-long run on a cool day, water is enough to keep you hydrated. But if you're running ten miles and the temperature is soaring, then grab a sports drink with electrolytes. Experts say when you’re working up a major sweat, you need to ingest some sodium too because salt helps you retain water. A sign you need sports drink is if you see salt streaks from your sweat on your face or clothing.
And have you heard that drinking lots of water is a good way to detox? There’s no evidence that excess water cleans your body out. If anything, drinking too much water hurts your kidneys’ ability to filter blood.