6 On Your Side: Consumer Confidence, How Much Water Do You Actually Need?

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(ABC 6 News) – Summer’s blistering heat can be hard to beat, but drinking plenty of water is a must to prevent dehydration and other problems.

But how much water do you really need to drink? Is drinking literally eight glasses full of water a day the answer?

As Consumer Reports reveals, it might be less than you think.

“Dehydration can increase your risk of dangerous heatstroke. And chronic dehydration can actually speed up the aging process,” says Consumer Reports’ Trisha Calvo.

So, is following the old-age tenet of drinking eight glasses of water a day the way to go?

“Keeping properly hydrated doesn’t mean measuring and downing water all day. All of our bodies are different, and the amount of fluids we each need varies,” explains Calvo.

So what’s the best way to stay hydrated?

The good news is it doesn’t have to be all water all the time. Seltzer, milk, fruit juice, even coffee and tea, are great ways of getting fluids into your body. But stay away from sugary drinks like soda – they’re full of empty calories.

What about drinks and powders that claim to be “ultra-hydrating?”

“They often contain electrolytes so they may be beneficial for athletes who sweat a lot, but they often also have sugar and artificial flavors, so for the rest of us who just exercise moderately, water is good enough,” says Calvo.

Another great source of fluids that might surprise you? Foods. Yes, nearly everything we eat has some water in it.

Look for fruits and vegetables as they are the go-to source as the best water replacers.

Some good options are watermelon, where one small wedge contains seven ounces of water. Eat a large peach and get about five ounces.

A cup of cucumber – that’s four ounces.

If you do exercise, it might be a good idea to weigh yourself before and after your workout and drink 16 to 24 ounces of fluid for every pound you’ve lost after your exercise.

In the end though, it’s really important you pay attention to your body. Look out for symptoms of fatigue, wooziness, headaches, and cramps.

And if you or someone else is suffering from heatstroke, call 911 immediately, get into an air-conditioned room and do not drink anything.