Posted on Aug 10, 2020, 2 p.m.
Drinking enough water to stay properly hydrated is important, especially during the hotter months when you are sweating more. Chances are that, like me, you are not drinking enough water. Luckily there are some ways to help increase your hydration to better support your health.
Let’s face it drinking plain water gets boring. If your hydration habits are not up to the bar, it is the perfect time to get back on track as the temperatures rise and make you naturally more thirsty. It really is a challenge worthy of taking on as the body is mostly water, and even the slightest amount of dehydration can negatively affect how we function from immunity, to digestion and even energy levels.
Keeping yourself adequately hydrated will help to improve the body’s ability to absorb nutrients and keep your digestive system regular. Water is very important to keeping the gastrointestinal tract functioning, assisting in breaking down food, keeping stool soft, and helping you to stay regular.
A review published in Skin Research and Technology suggests that increasing water intake helps to improve hydration of the stratum corneum outer layer of skin. Another study in Nutrition Reviews suggests that even mild dehydration is linked to more fatigue, less alertness, and lower moods. Nutrients published a study showing that water intake may help adults with obesity, weight loss, and with reducing body fat.
According to the CDC on average Americans drink about 39 ounces of water per day, which for an adult of healthy weight should typically be higher. Keep in mind that the ideal amount of water will vary person to person, but as a rule of thumb to gauge how much water you should be drinking, divide how much you weigh in pounds by 2, this will give you a number which you can say is the ounces of water you can aim for in a day. A person who weighs 150 pounds would have a target of 75 ounces per day, as an example. Some of this will come from food and other fluids like tea/coffee, but the bulk of it should be water.
If you think you may not be drinking enough water you might want to keep track of what you are intaking to get your baseline level before adjusting your water intake. You might actually be surprised at how much water you are putting into your body, there are even apps that can help you keep track to gauge your intake to help you calculate how much you need to add, if any. Some apps have timers, but even without an app you can set a timer on your mobile device to remind you every hour or so to take a drink of water. There are even smart water bottles on the market now that remind you to drink in a variety of ways from glowing lights, to noises.
It is easy to just simply become so involved in what you are doing and forget to go get a drink of water. To help with this try to keep water in front of you to sip at throughout the day. You can even set an alarm to remind yourself. If you can manage to drink two glasses in the morning when you wake up and as you are getting ready that is a great start, then if you can drink one glass before every meal and snack you should be just about at a good target.
It helps to drink water with meals, it can help you to eat less, and help you to slow down the mealtime itself. When the tummy is empty people tend to eat faster and forget to chew their food as much as it should be which impacts food digestion. The Journal of Clinical Nutrients published a studying suggesting that more water may help dieters suppress hunger, finding that increasing water intake helped dieters to lose weight.
Consuming foods such as fruits and vegetables that have a high water content can help you to meet your daily water target. Choices such as watermelon, strawberries, cantaloupe, lettuce, celery, spinach, cabbage and cooked squash contain about 90% water. Additionally milk, yogurt and cottage cheese are great sources of water.
Water doesn’t have to be boring, you can add a kick to plain water by experimenting with different temperatures and tastes. Making it more palatable to your individual taste can help you hit that hydration goal. Try it with/without ice, cold/warm, or flavored with some slices of fruit/veggies/herbs. Sometimes just adding fresh basil and ginger makes a difference, maybe some cucumber slices for variety or some strawberries. Maybe on an especially hot day try adding a few slices of orange, lime, and lemon with some mint for a refreshing change up.
It is also worth pointing out that one can also drink too much water, which can deplete sodium levels in the body that are necessary electrolytes for heart and muscle functioning. This is called symptomatic water intoxication or hyponatremia, and this typically occurs when one drinks about 3-4 liters of water in one go. Healthy adults can excrete up to 20 litres per day, without exceeding 3-4 cups of water within a single hour because this is around the limit of what a healthy kidney can excrete at a time. Overhydration can lead to falling electrolyte levels which can cause nausea, headaches and muscle weakness. Additionally, if your lips, hands and feet are swollen you may be drinking too much water.
We need to drink water to help maintain the balance of body fluids, and the function of these fluids includes digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature among others. We need water to live, the body uses it in all cells, organs, and tissues. The body loses water through breathing, sweating, and digestion making it very important to stay hydrated by drinking water and eating foods that contain water.
We are after all basically “Ugly, ugly giant bags of mostly water,” as was once mentioned on Star Trek, to which Data confirmed indicating that it was an accurate description of human physiology being that humans are 90% water surrounded by a flexible container.
Materials provided by:
Content may be edited for style and length.
This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement