Words to the Wise about Water

Summertime is all about water — we float on it, we kayak through it, and we frolic in its waves. And we need to drink eight glasses of it every day to maintain our good health (and good looks!), right? Wrong! While it is true that a steady supply of H2O is essential for your well-being, no scientific research supports the magic number eight. On the contrary, according to a study in the American Journal of Physiology, here’s the truth of the matter:

1. There’s no need to count. Your body will tell you when it’s time to drink up. Clue: You’ll feel thirsty (surprise!). Just to play it safe, though — because your busy mind may ignore that wake-up call — look at your urine output. If it’s brown or dark yellow, that indicates that you’re dehydrated, and you need to chug more liquid. On the other hand, if that bodily fluid is clear or close to it, you’re doing just fine.
2. You don’t have to guzzle water to keep your body sufficiently hydrated. Beverages of all kinds deliver the elixir of life. So do fruits (a single slice of watermelon boasts 10 ounces!), vegetables, and plenty of other foods.

Note: If a big thirst or a change in urine color is your only sign of dehydration, upping your fluid intake should solve the problem quickly. But if you have more severe symptoms, such as dizziness; a bad headache; a burning stomach; or dry skin, eyes, lips, and mouth — especially after exercising in a hot climate or following a bout of vomiting or diarrhea — get to the ER fast. You may need an IV drip to head off major trouble.