They're the imperatives for well-being that have been drilled into us forever—"Drink eight glasses of water a day!" "Eat nine servings of fruits and veggies!" "Stay away from red meat!" But it turns out that taking care of yourself isn't quite so black-and-white, says Harvard Medical School psychologist Alice Domar, PhD, coauthor of Live a Little! Breaking the Rules Won't Break Your Health. "Research is revealing that whoever wrote the old guidelines didn't have the whole picture, and that there are more paths to optimal health than we previously thought," Domar says. Happily, the new rules are more user-friendly than the old ones. Here, four tips to live by.
Old Rule: Drink eight glasses of water a day.
New Rule: Eat your water.
The recommendation to chug all that H2O was likely based on guidelines published in 1945. However, says Howard Murad, MD, author of The Water Secret, much of your daily requirement is contained in foods: Fruits, vegetables, beans, and cooked whole grains like oatmeal and quinoa (which soak up moisture in the pot) all deliver servings of water. And, as Murad points out, they offer the added bonus of nutrients: "Watermelon and cucumber are more than 90 percent water, but they also contain antioxidants. With a glass of water, all you get is water." You'll know you're hydrated when your urine is colorless or pale yellow and you're rarely thirsty.