You’ve probably often heard that it’s important to drink at least eight glasses of water a day. This is quite good advice. Water helps flush away bacteria which can contribute to the onset of infection and trigger the inflammation process. Drinking plenty of water also helps get rid of toxins and free radicals that can be harmful to your body.

image_waterDrinking plenty of water is an essential part of a weight-loss program as well. Unlike a great many popular drinks, it has no calories, no cholesterol, and very little sodium. It contains no caffeine and no sugar, two ingredients found in many soft drinks. Drinking a good deal of water daily can suppress an over-active appetite; it can also cut down on “water weight gain” by reducing water retention through kidney stimulation.

Water is also an essential part of the digestion and elimination processes: It is the “universal solvent” that helps break down solid food. Dehydration is often the cause of constipation; by drinking plenty of water, you help your body with the essential task of expelling waste products.

You have no doubt also heard the maxim, “If you don’t use a water filter, you are the filter!” We all need to drink a great deal of water in order to survive, but if we drink it straight from the tap, we are also imbibing many chemicals that our bodies recognize as toxins. The best solution is a “whole-home water filter.” These are more effective than water filters affixed to the kitchen tap, because they filter all the water used throughout your home. Of course, they’re a bit more expensive than their single-tap counterparts, but if you count up the amount of money you probably spend on bottled water, you’ll find that a whole-home water filtration system pays for itself in a very short time.

People often ask me exactly how much water they should actually drink, since “eight glasses” is a very approximate suggestion (how large is the glass?). The short answer is that each glass should contain at least eight ounces of water. The more active you are—the more you perspire due to strenuous exercise—the more water you need. In general, a sedentary person needs to drink about a half an ounce of water per pound of body weight daily. If you calculate that you are about twenty-five pounds over your ideal weight, add one eight-ounce glass of water per day to your normal eight glasses. If you have an active, strenuous exercise routine, you should add about two-thirds of an ounce per pound of body weight.