We’ve all heard the recommendation, “Drink more water!” The amount of water you should consume on a daily basis depends on your individual lifestyle in addition to a variety of other factors: climate, fitness, body size and gender, and intensity/duration of exercise. So, why should you consume adequate amounts of water per day? And, more importantly, how do you know if you’re drinking adequate amounts?
The Benefits of Being Hydrated
Water genuinely has our best interest at heart. Proper hydration helps regulate body temperature, lubricate joints, protect our spinal cord, and rids the body of toxic waste. It also helps maintain blood pressure and cognitive function. There really are a variety of recommendations in terms of how much water you should be drinking. A common one is to drink eight 8-ounce glasses. Another is to divide your weight by 2 to determine the ounces of fluid you need. For example, a 150-pound person would need 75 ounces of water each day. As mentioned above, your personal needs depends on your lifestyle.. As we age, our thirst sensation diminishes. Therefore, it is important to look at other cues such as the color of our urine. Dark yellow or amber-colored urine indicates you may need more fluids. Pale yellow indicates you are consuming enough water. Then there are times we need to increase our water intake. This includes during hot or humid weather, exercise, activity that makes you sweat, when you are sick and during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Our bodies are great at telling us when they need something. Here are some signs that your body is asking for water:
- Increased sense of thirst
- Flushed skin
- Increased body temperature
- Increased breathing or pulse rate
- Decreased exercise ability
- Concentrated urine
If you struggle to drink enough water, there are ways to boost your intake. Try adding flavor to your water with flavor drops, fruit or lemon juice. One of my favorite water flavor enhances is Nuun tablets as they contain additional electrolytes to keep you hydrated. They have even expanded their line to focus on specific vitamin intake, to help with athletes or to support rest for the body.
If you love carbonation, try sparkling water. Another Dietitian pick here would be Spindrift, a delicious sparkling water with only real fruit, and no added sugar or just “natural flavors”.
How to Keep Hydrated with Other Beverages
What if you are looking for another way to get fluids in without just water? Water should be that primary source, but we can easily do this by enjoying a variety of beverages and eating foods with a high water content such as fruits and veggies. When it comes to drinks, focus on unsweetened beverages like plain water, sparkling water and milk. Coffee and tea can also be counted toward our fluid intake for the day. Did you know that watermelon is a great choice, as it is 92% water?! Other options that are greater than 90% water intake include strawberries, cantaloupe, celery, zucchini, cucumber, lettuce, tomatoes, bell pepper, cauliflower and cabbage. These foods also have the added benefits of fiber, vitamins and antioxidants. Don’t forget about soup; it is another easy way to increase our fluid intake.
Personally, I make a goal to start my day off with a nice, big refreshing glass of water. This isn’t just for me; I also recommend this to anyone! After sleeping all night our bodies are dehydrated. If you are not a fan of plain water, consider adding flavor without adding calories. Try lemon, lime or orange slices, cucumber slices, and berries with fresh basil leaves. Drink water and other fluids throughout the day instead of just at meals. Instead of using plastic water bottles, invest in a reusable water bottle that you can refill when needed and carry it with you at all times. Doing this will make it easier to grab a drink.
Infused water is a great option to increase fluids in your diet without the added sugar or caffeine. Try this recipe Cherry Limeade recipe at home. It’ll be sure to quench your thirst any time of the year. Remember, our bodies crave water and it is our job to fuel them accordingly. Listen to the signs and try different ways to boost your water intake!
All you need:
6 to 8 mint leaves
10 pitted cherries, cut in half
1 Key lime, sliced thinly
1 liter water (still or sparkling)
All you do:
- Muddle mint leaves in bottom of glass. Combine mint leaves with pitted cherries, sliced lime, ice and water.
- Let steep for 30 minutes before serving.
Other infusion options:
- Cucumber + lime + sliced gingerroot
- Lime + orange + rosemary
- Raspberries + mint + lime
Still struggling after trying all of these tips? Our Hy-Vee Dietitians can help you stay accountable with goal-setting and realistic expectations of increasing your water intake. Sign up for a free, 30-minute discovery session with our Hy-Vee Dietitians here.
*The blog articles, recipes and recommendations found on this site are not intended as medical advice and should not replace consulting with your medical provider. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.