Hydration is essential to our health. After oxygen, nothing is more important than getting enough fluids. Our bodies simply cannot function without them.
Equally important, though, is putting the right fluids into our bodies. Really, this means pure, clean water.
Let's be honest. Many of us like to drink juice, soda, coffee, tea or sports drinks. They taste good! We probably don't get very excited about water, which doesn't have much of a taste at all.
However, I highly recommend that you get the vast majority of your daily fluid intake from water.
While it's not the most exciting beverage, it's exactly what your body wants. Water is necessary for everything from keeping your blood flowing to your brain functioning. When we drink other beverages, our bodies are just extracting the water from them.
Unfortunately, most other drinks are loaded with some form of sugar (hence the good taste) and/or are highly acidic. Neither of these are good for your body. Water, meanwhile, has no additives and is generally pH neutral. It gives you the hydration you need with no side effects.
Making a commitment to hydrate with water can have a tremendous impact on your health, because it helps you cut way down on the amount of sugar you're consuming, and gives your body exactly what it needs to thrive!
How much water should you drink? The old rule of thumb is about eight glasses a day. Some health professionals also suggest drinking between ½ and 1 ounce of water for every pound of body weight. However, an even simpler approach might be the best one: drink water whenever you feel thirsty.
Bottled or tap? Bottled water is convenient, but it's often no better than tap water — if you're filtering your tap water. Water filters can be inexpensive, and save you a great deal of money over time compared to bottled water. I recommend getting a glass or metal reusable water bottle and keeping it with you all the time. One note about filters: many of the entry level water filters don't do much more than filter out chlorine in the water to improve the taste, so look for one that takes out other impurities as well.
If you're skeptical about the benefits of water, just try it. Use water for 90+% of your fluid intake for a week, and see how you feel. Your body will be thrilled.