Water, agua, l'eau, H2O… no matter how you say it, we all need water to survive. Our body is about 70 percent water, and drinking enough of it is vital for optimal health.
Water helps to regulate your body temperature, it aids in digestion, helps protect tissues and joints, and it helps the body get rid of waste. When you don’t drink enough water, the chances of dehydration, kidney stones, and poorer cognitive function increase.
Science-Based Health Benefits of Drinking Enough Water
Here are six top reasons you want to make sure you're getting enough of this clear liquid every day on your quest for hydration:
- Staying hydrated supports a healthy intestinal system because water helps break down the food you eat, allowing the nutrients to be properly filtered or absorbed by your body
- Adequate water intake boosts your performance during exercise, especially if you work out for longer than 30 minutes
- H20 may help you avoid headaches, even migraines
- Drinking plenty of water can help you lose weight by increasing satiety (feeling full) and boost your metabolic rate (burning calories)
- Staying hydrated can keep your skin looking youthful and help avoid premature wrinkles
- And when you overindulge, drinking water can help reduce some of the main symptoms of dehydration resulting from a hangover
The Pitfalls of Not Being Hydrated
Dehydration happens when you lose more fluid than you take in. When this occurs your body cannot carry out normal functions.
Symptoms of dehydration can include the following unwanted and serious health issues:
- Dizziness, lightheadedness, even mental confusion
- Nausea or vomiting
- Muscle cramps or feeling weak
- Dry mouth
- Unusually fast heartbeat
How Much Water Do You Need?
For many years we were all told to drink eight glasses of water. But now science is revising that advice.
Many factors determine how much water you need during the day. Although guidelines and statistics may vary, research from The National Academy of Medicine (NAM) recommends the following:
- men should intake about 125 ounces (15.5 cups) each day
- women should have about 91 ounces (11.5 cups) daily
Don’t Stay Thirsty, My Friends
That’s a whole lot of water to consume every day. It’s no secret you have to hydrate, but sometimes trying to drink this clear, life-enhancing liquid can seem boring and even a little torturous. A busy lifestyle and staying motivated to drink H2O can be challenging.
There are ways to make it fun and easier than you think. Try these simple tricks and tips for drinking more water and getting the recommended amount to stay hydrated.
- Front of Mind. Keep a reusable water bottle with you at your desk, in your car, on your bike, or wherever you are. If you see it, you will drink it.
Better yet, fill a giant jug of water and mark different levels and how much you should consume every hour. Staring at the giant jug with the timelines on it will definitely help serve as a reminder that you need to hydrate. You can even recruit some friends on social media or colleagues at work to take the water challenge with you.
- Make a Plan. Develop a habit of drinking one glass of water before each meal. And as soon as you feel hungry, drink a glass of water. Thirst is often confused with hunger.
- Exercise Partner. Your water bottle should become your BFF and your constant exercise partner whenever you workout. Experts recommend you always drink before, during, and after a workout. Whether you’re a serious athlete or simply exercise for recreation, it’s important to stay hydrated. Otherwise, you may feel tired, have muscle cramps, dizziness, or other serious symptoms. Here’s how H2O can support your workouts:
- Water regulates your body temperature
- It helps lubricate your joints
- Water transports nutrients that are necessary to give you energy for peak performance
But beware of high-calorie, sugary sports drinks that can be high in caffeine and sodium that actually increase the chances of your becoming dehydrated.
- Better Taste. Add a water flavor enhancer to your water glass or bottle. There are a wide variety of Crystal Light and MiO tastes to choose from. Or keep it simple and add lemon, mint, and cucumber to make your water refreshing. Just like the fancy pitcher of water you find in luxury spas, you can pump up your plain water with flavor.
- Remind Yourself. Let your smartphone (or smartwatch) help out by setting reminders when to drink. When that annoying alarm sounds, you are more likely to chug a few ounces than just ignore it.
- Technology Support. There’s an app for that! Yes, there are hydration apps to download to help you increase your water intake, especially if you struggle with being forgetful or too busy to drink.
Consider the new, high-tech smart water bottles, which do all of the tracking for you. HidrateSpark will not only monitor your water intake it will literally illuminate the bottle through its app to remind you to take a gulp. The Ozmo's Smart Water Bottle can sync with your fitness tracker and follow your progress throughout the day to help you reach your hydration goals. It can’t get much easier than this.
Foods That Keep You Hydrated
One smart, and sneaky, way to increase the amount of water you consume on a daily basis is to eat your H2O. Add fruits and vegetables with a high water content to your grocery shopping list.
- Lettuce: 96% water
- Celery: 95% water
- Zucchini: 95% water
- Cabbage: 92% water
- Watermelon: 91% water
- Cantaloupe: 90% water
- Honeydew melon: 90% water
In addition to their high fluid content, these fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that promote your overall health.
Staying Hydrated For Optimum Health
It’s true what you see on the news and in the movies; people may be able to survive for weeks without food, but they can only survive a few days without water.
There is more and more evidence that supports the importance and urgency of adequate hydration to stay healthy. Don’t take water for granted; even mild dehydration can affect you mentally and physically.
Take charge of your health and stay hydrated. Make sure that you get enough water every day by using these simple tips to boost your daily water intake, keep you energized, and maintain your overall wellness.