Drinking enough water throughout the day is important for a number of reasons, some of which might surprise you! Hydration regulates our body temperature, lubricates our joints, keeps our immune system strong, delivers nutrients to our cells, and keeps our organs functioning properly. When we’re optimally hydrated (notice I didn’t say the MORE water we drink– because too much is a problem) we have better sleep, mood, and brain function.
So How Much is “Enough”?
Many experts recommend drinking approximately 11 cups of water a day for the average woman, and 16 cups of water a day for the average man. Another way to calculate optimal hydration is to divide your weight by two to get the number of ounces you should strive for: a 160lb person would set a goal to drink 80 ounces of water per day. Don’t overthink it: you’ll know you’re drinking enough water if your pee is consistently clear throughout the day.
What to do when you don’t like drinking plain water
- Add some natural flavors: If you CAN, add some natural flavors (as opposed to packaged sweeteners that probably contain artificial colors and flavors) to your water. Some of my favorite combinations are sliced strawberries/lemons and sliced strawberries/mint. Cucumber is also an easy addition, and you know what- I feel fancy drinking it! While there are many fancy special water bottles out there that have special compartments for your fruits/mints/flavors, honestly– if you don’t already have one, don’t let this stop you. Any water bottle will do. Just cut up your flavor enhancers and toss them in!
- Eat more water-rich foods: drinking isn’t the only way that our body hydrates. We also take in water from the foods we eat. Foods that are naturally hydrating include: melons, strawberries, pineapples, peaches, oranges, bell peppers, broccoli, and celery. So don’t discount what’s on your plate- it can keep you hydrated as well!
- Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning- While “proper” hydration should be sprinkled throughout your day (it doesn’t support your body to just drink 5 glasses of water all in the morning, then nothing for the rest of the day- and in fact, drinking TOO much water at one time can be toxic and/or lethal) something I find helpful to “cue” myself to hydrate more throughout the day is to start my day with a small glass of water. I add a few drops of lemon essential oil to a warm glass of water and drink it while I’m preparing my coffee. Starting my morning in this way helps me to be more aware of hydrating throughout the day.
- Track your intake: There are several tracking apps and devices out there that will let you track how much water you are drinking. This is really helpful for some people, and it makes sense- what you focus on is what you control and change in your life. Set a goal for yourself, and then track throughout the day how much water you’re drinking. This extra “accountability buddy” might just be the go for you.