Drinking enough water each day is crucial for many reasons: to regulate body temperature, keep joints lubricated, prevent infections, deliver nutrients to cells, and keep organs functioning properly. Being well-hydrated also improves sleep quality, cognition, and mood.
Experts recommend drinking roughly 11 cups of water per day for the average woman and 16 for men. And not all of those cups have to come from plain water; for example, some can come from water flavoured with fruit or vegetables (lemons, berries, or orange or cucumber slices), or from coffee or tea.
But it’s best to stay away from sugar-sweetened beverages when trying to stay hydrated, says Walter Willet, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. In a September 28, 2017 CNN article, Willett said that Americans are “conditioned to expect high levels of sweetness in everything…. You might say we are malhydrated, because we drink so much soda and fruit juice and other sugar-sweetened beverages, and by that I mean we drink beverages that harm our health. Even energy drinks and vitamin waters, most are loaded with sugar and not worth the use.”