The average adult loses about 10 cups of fluid every day normally through perspiration, urination, bowel movements and breathing. The only way to replace these losses is through the beverages you drink and the foods you eat.
You can eat more watery fruits and vegetables which can add up to an equivalent of about three glasses of water a day or drink other fluids like plain water, juice or milk to equal the hydration recommendations of drinking 8-10 (8oz glasses) of fluid each day.
Recent research shows that you may also be able to count the beverages containing caffeine you consume, such as coffee or tea, as contributing to your overall water intake.
In the past, it was widely believed that beverages containing caffeine were not hydrating because caffeine acted as a diuretic. Research now shows that caffeine does not increase urine output in people accustomed to drinking coffee tea and other beverages that contain caffeine.
The idea that drinking beverages containing natural diuretic substances, such as caffeine, actually drain fluid out of the body is simply a misunderstanding of the diuretic process, explains the Grandjean hydration study. Mild diuretics found in foods and beverages may slightly hasten the removal of water from the body -- but the functions that maintain proper body balance of water and electrolytes prevent excreting more water than is taken in from all sources. (The exception would be where there has been an unhealthy water build-up, such as edema.)
The study concludes that for most people, drinking naturally caffeinated tea all day is not different than drinking water all day in terms of water balance.
Although these results may challenge your thinking on hydration, consider the nutrients you will receive when drinking fluids other than water. The benefits of the other beverages will provide the high flavonoid and antioxidant content of fruit juices, tea, coffee, beer and hot chocolate, and the protein and calcium in milk.
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