Health & Hydration

As well as keeping you hydrated, water is a powerful cleanser - many toxins are flushed from the body in urine. While it certainly matters what and how much one drinks over the long term, it's generally agreed that consuming the national average of at least 67 ounces of fluid each day (even more for those who are physically active) is important to one's health.

Adults and children can consume a wide variety of fluids each day, including water, milk, juices, teas, sports drinks and soft drinks to meet their hydration needs. For all the appeal beverages generate from a taste standpoint, it's easy to forget they exist for an essential reason.

The taste of water plays a major role in the amount of water people consume throughout the day. People and animals naturally drink more water when it tastes good.

Beverages play a role as a component of a healthy lifestyle. So does overall diet, exercise, sleep, mental outlook and any number of factors. As with anything, beverages, depending on the type and quantity, can be beneficial when enjoyed in moderation.

Proper hydration is critical to the function of the human body. Generally, healthy people can let thirst be their guide to adequate hydration.

It is a myth that consuming caffeinated products dehydrates people. A recent report by the Institute of Medicine found that all beverages, including those with caffeine, help to hydrate the body.

Active people and athletes need to hydrate themselves and replace electrolytes lost through sweat. Prolonged heat exposure and activity causes water loss and creates a need for fluid intake. Sport drinks may be a suitable beverage for these people.

Water may also be used in healing. Some people believe water is a powerful messenger that can hold electromagnetic traces as a type of 'memory'. This principle is applied in homeopathy, where it's believed that the more a substance is diluted the more potent it becomes. However, this theory remains controversial.

Waters from certain areas have historically been used for healing particular diseases and are often found to contain high levels of specific minerals that may help to relieve the condition. 'Holy' or 'blessed' water, either from sacred sites or blessed by spiritual teachers, is often highly prized - and some have prompted claims of miracle cures.

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