How much water should you drink?

Foods supply more fluid that you may think

SAN ANTONIO – It’s been a long, sweaty summer and with the relentless heat, it’s critical to stay hydrated.

“Dehydration can increase your risk of dangerous heat stroke, and chronic dehydration can accelerate the aging process,” said Consumer Reports’ Trisha Calvo.

We’ve long heard we should drink eight glasses of water a day. So, is that the way to go?

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

Hydration can mean more than just water. Seltzer, milk, fruit juice, even coffee and tea get fluids into the body.

What about drinks and powders with claims that they are “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 plenty,” Calvo said.

For every pound you lose during an exercise session, a good rule of thumb is to drink 16 to 24 ounces of fluid afterward.

There are other sources of fluid, too. Nearly everything we eat, including Greek yogurt and cooked pasta, has some water content.

Fruits and vegetables are the best water replacers.

For example, one small wedge of watermelon has seven ounces of water, one large peach has five ounces of water, and one cup of cucumber has four ounces.

The bottom line though -- it’s important to pay attention to your body for signs of dehydration or worse. Look for symptoms of fatigue, wooziness, headaches and cramps.

Heat exhaustion requires a cool-down and rehydration. But, if someone is suffering heat stroke, get them to a cool place and call 911.

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About the Author:

As a consumer reporter, Marilyn is all about helping people stay safe and save a buck. Since coming to KSAT in 1985, she’s covered everything from crime to politics, winning awards for her coverage of the Mexican Mafia, Oklahoma tornadoes, children’s transplants, an investigation into voting irregularities and even a hit-and-run Santa Claus.