Proper hydration is essential for overall health. Since every cell in your body relies on water to function, your hydration status should be just as important to you as your diet. However, don’t reach for a plastic bottle of water just yet.

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Drink From Glass or Stainless Steel Containers

Did you know that we’ve reached the point where we purchase one million plastic bottles every minute? Or that 91% of those are not recycled, even though they’re made from materials that are easy to recycle? 1 Or that it requires more than 17 million barrels of oil2to produce plastic bottles each year? Despite recycling programs, billions and billions of plastic bottles end up in a landfill, where they sit for approximately 400 years before they decompose. For this reason, I encourage all of my patients to drink out of glass or stainless steel containers.

I use a stainless steel water bottle from Kleen Kanteen, but there are many green, toxin-free containers to choose from. I recommend avoiding plastic water bottles in order to reduce plastic waste but also to avoid toxins like Bisphenol A (BPA), which has been shown to imitate estrogen and other hormones in the body. Now you can find BPA-free containers from most companies, but I still prefer to drink out of glass and stainless steel just to be safe.

Choose Clean, Filtered Water

What you put in your container is just as important as what the container is made of. Since more than half of the body is comprised of water, the quality of your water can have a direct effect on your state of health. We absorb water internally as we drink it, but we also absorb water through our skin when we bathe and swim.

Heavy metals and other contaminants in the water supply can be absorbed through your skin and GI tract and stored in your body if you have genetic mutations (MTHFR) and cannot properly detoxify. In fact, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) discovered in a 3-year study that 85% of the population in the U.S. consumes water with about 316 contaminants, most of which are completely unregulated.

This is why filtering your tap water is so important. I believe that prevention is the most important aspect of good health, so I encourage all of my patients to drink and shower in filtered water if it is practical and affordable for them.

In my home, I use Aquasana*, a local Austin-based company whose filters are designed to remove heavy metals, chlorine, chloramines, pesticides, and herbicides from water.

How Much Should I Consume?

Now that we know what to drink from, and what to drink, let’s talk about how much and why. About 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. This means that we often lose more water than we consume.

Whether you’re hoping to lose weight, meet your next fitness goal, or just feel more like yourself again, hydration will help. Drinking plenty of water will improve your athletic performance, decrease your appetite, and help wash out unwanted toxins and chemicals.

When you’re properly hydrated, you’ll have to go to the restroom multiple times throughout the day. Even though this may seem inconvenient, you will be cleansing your body and supporting your immune system.

Aim to drink 6 to 8 glasses of filtered water every day. Drink more during the summer months or if you live in or travel to high elevations. After the first “pee” of the day, your urine should be nearly clear. If it’s not, add a few glasses of water per day. Your body will thank you!

A previous version of this article was originally posted on MindBodyGreen

 *Use our Aquasana promo code DRMYERS to receive a discount!