"Drink eight 8 oz. glasses of water every day." Sound familiar? Hydration is especially important on hot days (such as those we frequently experience in Caribbean countries), when you engage in strenuous physical activity, to flush out toxins from your body, to aid with digestion, and for healthy skin at the very least. Water is considered to be the stuff of life and the essence of what keeps everything flowing. While that may be true, many health experts are clearing the air on the old 'eight glasses of water' adage. What does this mean? Although hydration is important, and water is mighty hydrating and great for all kinds of things, there's no real hard or fast rule here. There's no need for guilt-tripping if you drink less than 8 glasses (2-3 liters) of water a day. This is because water isn't the only hydrating thing we consume. Practically every drink (eg. tea, coffee, alcohol, etc.) has some water in it. So does almost everything we eat. Check this out: [TABLE="width: 500, align: center"] [TR] [TD]Food [/TD] [TD]Percent Water by Weight[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Lettuce (1/2 cup)[/TD] [TD="align: center"] 95[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Watermelon (1/2 cup)[/TD] [TD="align: center"]92[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Broccoli (1/2 cup)[/TD] [TD="align: center"]91[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Grapefruit (1/2)[/TD] [TD="align: center"]91[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Orange juice (3/4 cup)[/TD] [TD="align: center"]88[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Carrot (1/2 cup)[/TD] [TD="align: center"]87[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Apple (1 medium)[/TD] [TD="align: center"]84[/TD] [/TR] [TR] [TD]Kidney beans, boiled (1/2 cup)[/TD] [TD="align: center"]67[/TD] [/TR] [/TABLE] Source: http://www.care2.com We can consume water in a lot of ways other than by forcing down eight glasses of water. That is what being hydrated is about. To add to this, not everyone has the same hydration needs. Someone who lives in a tropical climate and moves around often throughout the day (traveling, shopping, exercising, hiking, doing physical labor, being out in the direct heat of the sun, etc) has higher hydration needs than say, someone who lives in cooler climates and sits at a desk or chills out on the couch all day. So what do we do? Health experts may recommend 8 glasses or 2-3 liters of fluid a day as a guideline for general hydration requirements. Many will suggest that you opt for clear fluids if possible and avoid carbonated or artificially flavored beverages. At the end of the day, it is up to each of us to listen to our bodies (sometimes with expert help if necessary) and do what we can given our respective circumstances to promote our health. Just remember that you can hydrate yourself adequately for your lifestyle without feeling forced to chug 8 glasses of H2O specifically. Don't intentionally avoid hydrating yourself though, as dehydration and over-hydration (hyponatremia) can be equally dangerous. All things in moderation.