I’m sure you have heard it before: your body is made up of about 60% water. Your body depends on water to survive. Therefore, it is extremely important to stay hydrated and replenish all that is lost. Did you know that by the time you feel thirsty, your body has lost more than 1% of its total water? So, let’s not wait until we feel thirsty!
It will take your body (your bladder) some time to adjust to drinking more water than usual. But your body will adjust! The best thing you can do to avoid having to run to the bathroom constantly, is to spread out your consumption throughout the day. Take small sips periodically, rather than chugging large amounts at one time.
Don’t like the taste of water?
Add some fruit! You can infuse your water with fresh fruit or fresh herbs. There are many ways to spice up the flavor of your water! Some ideas to try: cucumber mint, citrus blueberry, pineapple mint, watermelon basil, strawberry lemon, cherry lime, pineapple basil. These are all tasty options. Simply add sliced fruit and herb leaves to your water. Store in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, and ta-dah! You have fruit infused water! Keep in mind, that your taste buds will adjust. If you dislike water now, stick with it. Your taste buds change often, and you may be able to tolerate plain water better, later down the line.
How Much Water Do I need?
The recommended amount of water varies from person to person. Some will require more, and other will require less (typically based on your current health status, your activity level, muscle mass, your size, and where you live). The current estimated requirement is for men to drink about 13 cups of water (3 liters) and women to drink about 9 cups daily (2.2 liters). You can also estimate your needs by taking your body weight and dividing it in half. That number is the amount of water in ounces that you should be drinking daily. For example, a 160-lb person should drinking 80 oz water each day.
We also consume water as a component in various foods and other beverages. Watermelon, or other juicy fruits have high amounts of water in them. And of course, soups, coffee, tea, and other beverages have water as well. However, some of these foods have other components that can work in opposition to hydration. For example, caffeine is a diuretic that can actually dehydrate you. So the caffeine from your coffee or tea can actually hinder water's role in hydration. This is why it is important to drink plenty of plain water as well.
A lack of water can lead to dehydration. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you feel tired. A good indicator of dehydration is the color of your urine. The darker the color of urine, the more dehydrated you are. Normal colored urine is pale yellow. If you’re not used to drinking water, your urine will most likely be clear. Don’t worry, that is okay!
Health Benefits of Drinking Water
- Gets rid of wastes through urination, perspiration, and bowel movements.
- Keeps your temperature normal (homeostasis).
- Lubricates and cushions your joints (helping to prevent arthritis).
- Protects sensitive tissues.
- Helps with weight management. Drinking water fills you up and can lead to eating less. That’s right! Drinking water can help you lose weight! Drinking more water may cause you to replace the consumption of other beverages (that contain additional calories), leading to less caloric intake for the day. Drinking water can also help increase your metabolism, helping you burn more calories daily. Furthermore, the brain cannot differentiate the feeling of hunger and thirst. If you feel hungry, you may just be thirsty! So, drink up!
- Helps energize muscles (it is especially important to drink even more water when you are physically active).
- Helps keep skin looking good.
- Helps with your kidney function.
- Helps maintain normal bowel function.
- Helps reduce cavities and tooth decay. Water helps produce saliva, which keeps your mouth and teeth clean.
Tips to Help You Drink More
- Have a glass of water with every snack and meal.
- Keep a water bottle on hand, full and ready to go; Keep a bottle in your car, at your desk, or in your bag.
- Drink out of a straw. You consume more when drinking through a straw!
- Infuse your water with fresh fruit and herbs if you dislike the taste of regular water.
- Set an alarm or small goals throughout the day. For example: by noon, make sure you already consumed 20 ounces of water.
- Buddy up and hold one another accountable.
If you haven’t had any water by the time you finish reading this, you know what to do. Grab your water bottle and get to it! 😊