Take a moment to think of what you’ve had to drink today and make a mental list. What does it look like? For most of us, it’s a cup or two of coffee in the morning, perhaps a soda or iced tea at lunch, maybe another cup of coffee to beat that two o’clock feeling and then wine or beer at happy or over dinner. Notice anything?

Only 30 to 34% of our daily water intake comes from plain water. That means much of it comes from other sources like soda, caffeinated beverages and alcohol. While recent studies have proven that these sources can hydrate us, they come with unnecessary additives that can harm the body—especially if you’re adding cream and sugar to your coffee or drinking beer over 3%.

Ideally, people should drink between 30 and 50 ounces of water a day. Water is essential for supporting the function of every system in your body, including your brain muscles and heart. Among other things, fluids carry nutrients, flush bacteria, and prevent constipation. Older folks should pay special attention too, since many medications can exacerbate fluid loss. In general, to maintain a healthy diet, adults and children should drink plenty of water, avoid sugary beverages and eat nutrient rich food.

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