Do you really need to drink eight glasses of water a day?

During the dog days of summer, overheating can quickly lead to dehydration. Especially among older people.

But the truth is, dehydration can happen at any time of year. Even during the winter—when dry, heated indoor air can quietly squelch fluids from your skin without you even realizing it.

So, today, let’s talk about taking a sensible approach to healthy hydration, all year long…

How much water do you really need to drink?

Water makes up about 60 percent of the human body. And the lungs, in particular, are about 83 percent water. (Something to keep in mind as we continue to look at natural ways to prevent respiratory infections of the lungs.)

Your body uses water to:

  • Aid in digestion and process carbs
  • Lubricate your joints
  • Assist in flushing out wastes and harmful microbes
  • Help deliver oxygen throughout the body
  • Maintain a healthy blood pressure
  • Boost energy and brain function

Yet, for something so fundamental, there’s a pitiful lack of real science to guide us about healthy hydration. Instead, most people simply accept and repeat the unsupported, widespread myth that they need to drink six-to-eight glasses a day.

Not to mention, big pharma and the crony, corporatist, mainstream medical complex just aren’t interested in researching the benefits of something as simple as drinking water. (They would rather sell you more drugs and vaccines for various health conditions.)

As a result, most of what I report to you about healthy hydration comes from the fields of physiology, kinesiology, and nutritional science. Even so, there’s still not much good, precise, science-backed data on how much water you should drink daily.

Thankfully, we can still refer to what we know about basic biology…

Trust your body’s natural instincts

Your body’s natural thirst mechanism does a great job of regulating your fluid intake. In other words, drinking when you feel thirsty works well to keep you optimally hydrated—most of the time.

In fact, in most cases, just drinking when you feel thirsty keeps your hydration to within 1 to 2 percent of ideal levels. Which is pretty darn good—even for a high-performance athlete.

Now—as you get older, your normal thirst mechanism may become a little less precise. So, if you’re over 50, you may want to drink a glass of water occasionally before thirst really sets in, especially in hot climates, or with indoor heated air.

But you don’t need to obsessively consume water (or anything else for that matter) morning, noon, and night. In fact, constantly guzzling water can disrupt your electrolyte balance—causing brain and heart problems and even death (especially if you’re on a low-salt diet).

Plus, drinking too much will cause you to have to urinate almost constantly, which can pose a serious problem when you’re away from home—especially now, as many nanny state governors have shut down public restrooms, thanks to the coronavirus panic. (But if business establishments can open safely, can’t their restrooms also open “safely”?)

Feel free to enjoy coffee and beer

In the end, I suggest you aim to enjoy four to six cups of liquids per day. This amount should cause you to urinate somewhere between five and seven times per day—which is the ideal amount, biologically.

Just take special care to avoid sugary sports drinks or energy drinks. (They’re more about marketing than science anyway.) And while you’re at it, avoid sugary and zero-sugar soft drinks too. These beverages not only dehydrate you, but also rob your body of its normal ability to regulate thirst.

But you can feel confident keeping moderate coffee, or beer, and even a glass of whole milk on the healthy hydration list…

As I’ve reported before, it’s a myth that drinking coffee or beer will dehydrate you. (Tune back in on Thursday for another surprising benefit of drinking coffee.) And when it comes to milk, science shows drinking it actually hydrates you better than water—especially in people experiencing some fluid losses from gastrointestinal (GI) upsets.

You can also support healthy hydration within your cells by enjoying South African rooibos tea or by taking a rooibos supplement.

Rooibos also helps fire up your cells’ mitochondria, giving you more energy. In fact, back in early 2000s, the Appalachian State University football team defeated powerhouse University of Michigan in the opening game of the season on Labor Day weekend—after the physical education department had researched the rooibos hydration supplement I had recommended.

(You can learn more about the benefits of rooibos in the March 2013 issue of my monthly newsletter, Insiders’ Cures [“Are you drinking rooibos yet?’]. Subscribers have access to this report and all of my archives. So, if you haven’t already, consider signing up today. Click here now!)

Bottom line: Keep these simple recommendations in mind and you’ll never have to worry about the dangers of dehydration—even in these dog days of summer!