Hydrate Wisely: Busting the “Eight Glasses a Day” Myth

January 15, 2014 Trisha Han Self-Help TopicsWellness & Prevention

Drinking water has many beneficial outcomes. Water flushes out toxins from your body, improves circulation and joint lubrication, and drives many important metabolic processes.  According to the old adage, you should drink eight glasses of water a day to stay hydrated.  For some people, though, that may be too much.

An excess of anything can be bad for you–including water.  Many people hydrate more than their bodies can tolerate, and consequently, experience symptoms like bloating and edema. Additionally, from a Chinese Medicine perspective, the water you retain causes dampness in your body–when combined with inflammation or excess wind-cold, it becomes phlegm, which aggregates in your airways.

In order for the water you drink to do good, not harm, you should hydrate according to your physique.  Everyone requires and tolerates specific amounts of water.  This varies depending on the amount of salt you consume, your kidney function, etc. People who tend to experience a dry mouth, who urinate freely after fluid intake, can tolerate large amounts of water.  On the other hand, people who do not urinate as much–or as frequently–should drink less water.  This also applies to people with asthma, people who produce a lot of phlegm when coughing, as well as those who have body types that are more sensitive to the cold.

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