Are you drinking too much water? 4 of the biggest hydration myths

-Apr 19, Rachel Richards, Health -

You could be forgiven that thinking that drinking a gallon of water a day is the cure to all health ills – from dull skin to headaches to insomnia. But there’s so many hydration myths out there that we have decided to focus on separating water facts from fiction. 

Healthy skin, hair and nails are indeed dependent on proper fluid intake, not to mention the cardiovascular system.

But getting your daily dose of hydration might be a little less onerous than you think. And, you could be drinking too much water – which is pretty much as bad as drinking too little. 

Let’s bust a few myths…

1. You need eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day

The “8×8” recommendation is not based on science. Factors like the weather and exercise strongly influence hydration needs, so a universal guideline is imprecise at best.

2. If you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated

The hypothalamus in the brain monitors blood volume, pressure and sodium levels.

Thirst is how the brain regulates those factors. Generally, the thirst mechanism is spot-on. You may get thirsty in response to eating something salty, and that doesn’t mean you’re dehydrated. Thirst and dehydration are not the same thing.

Age can weaken the thirst response, as well as certain medications, but it’s the best guide we have to knowing what our bodies need. (So listen to it!).

3. You can only get hydrated from drinking water

Au contraire, friends — about 20 percent of your water intake comes from foods.

Vegetables like cucumbers, radishes and spinach and fruits like watermelon, strawberries and cantaloupe are all more than 90 percent water and packed with vitamins and minerals. That H2O counts just as much as the kind from the tap.

4. Caffeinated drinks dehydrate you

No health expert is going to encourage you to drink more caffeine, but it’s not true that coffee and soda will dehydrate you.

Drinks with caffeine are diuretics, which means they’ll make you urinate more, but they still contribute to your hydration.

Staying hydrated is critical for your energy levels as well as your appearance, but don’t feel bad about not swapping a cup of coffee for water. You could also try tea or matcha – which is packed with antioxidants. 

According to the science available, the sensation of thirst is a reliable indicator of when you’re in need of fluid. And, if you’d rather pick up a tomato or iceberg lettuce than a water bottle, your skin and body will relish the hydration just as much.

Trust your body.

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