Raise a glass to World Water Day

(CNN) -- Hit the hydration station - March 22 is World Water Day.

Water: It makes up 60% of our bodies, and yet most of us don't get enough of it on a daily basis.

However, not everyone has access to clean, fresh, readily available drinking water. The United Nations estimates that as many as 783 million people lack clean water. Access to clean water is important for sanitation and farming, but it's also integral to a healthy way of life.

Natural sources of water, like rivers, know no boundaries and often wind their way through multiple countries; controlling the flow of those rivers can cause serious political conflict. To help raise awareness to these problems and more, the UN has designated 2013 as the International Year of Water Cooperation. With 85% of the world's population living in the driest half of the globe, it's important not to take water for granted on this World Water Day.

The benefits of drinking water are incredible. Increased water intake keeps your skin looking healthy and gives your muscles a boost, but it also helps flush your system of toxins and carries essential nutrients to different parts of your body.

The common thought is that eight cups of water a day is the ideal amount for the average adult. It's easy to remember that number, but the amount of water you need will depend on a variety of factors, including age and the humidity of where you live.

The easiest and most environmentally friendly way to make sure you're staying hydrated is to keep a reusable bottle filled with water near you throughout the day. The style and size is up to you, just make sure it's BPA-free. Bisphenol A, or BPA, is used to make plastics and has been linked to some negative health effects including asthma. Most plastic water bottles that are BPA-free say so right on the bottle.

Of course, you don't have to just drink water to get your daily dose of hydration - water is found in many foods and other drinks. Tomatoes, lettuce and cucumbers consist mostly of water. Water is also in milk, beer, wine, coffee and tea. While drinking caffeinated or alcoholic beverages isn't always the best way to get hit your water quota, they do count.

Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration, which can get pretty nasty. Dry mouth, headache, sleepiness and dizziness are all symptoms of dehydration. Lack of water also strains your kidneys and bowels - so drink up!

 

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