People have been told time and again that hydration is important for the body - eight glasses of water a day to be precise - and that we must drink more water to replenish the water we lose as we sweat and do our daily activities. Now experts are saying that just drinking water is not as effective as originally believed and advise eating water instead.

No, we are not talking about chewing ice. To put it simply, experts believe that the natural water from the food we eat may just be more effective in keeping us hydrated and has more health benefits to boot. The importance is in retaining the water in the body and not just guzzling it up each day.

According to Dr. Howard Murad from the University of California, Los Angeles, there's really nothing wrong with drinking those eight glasses of water a day. However, unless we can make our cells absorb and retain water effectively, all the hydrating would be for naught.

Murad adds that just drinking water does not necessarily mean the cells in the human body are absorbing it and that the process of absorption is different. He notes that water-rich food like fruits and vegetables are structured differently and have molecules that help the water get absorbed more easily and retained longer.

"When we eat water-rich foods, we absorb water more slowly because it is trapped in the structure of these foods," says Murad. "That slow absorption means the water in food stays in our bodies longer, and brings a multitude of additional benefits."

Dieticians agree with Murad's advice, saying that switching to water-rich food may also aid in weight loss because these usually contain less calories and makes a person feel fuller longer.

So next time you're thirsty, you might want to reach for a watermelon, tomato, pineapple or a cantaloupe.

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