After a long workout routine, you probably reach for your water bottle without hesitation, but do you guzzle enough H2O on a regular basis? If you’re like most people, the answer is no. Americans are woefully under-hydrated. A CDC survey reported that 7 percent of respondents drank no water at all on a day-to-day basis. Only 22 percent of adults drink more than eight cups per day. Staying hydrated can boost your energy, help you maintain a healthy weight and shed some pounds if you need to. Not everyone loves drinking water. If you need ideas on how to get more liquids in your life, here are a few good options.
No Right Amount
Research isn’t clear on how much water you need per day because individual needs can vary. If you’re on your feet at work, then you’ll need more water than someone who works at a desk all day. Your current weight and other factors influence how much liquid you need. Pregnant women, for instance, need more water than others because their growing babies need plenty of amniotic fluid in the womb. You’ll also need more water if you’re sick or living in a hot climate. While there is no consensus on how much an individual needs, there is a guideline: Men need about 13 cups per day while women need about nine cups per day.
Stay Ahead of Thirst
If you’re thirsty, you’re probably already dehydrated. Stay ahead of your thirst to ensure that you’re getting enough fluids. You don’t need to pour glass after glass of water to maintain proper hydration. Several foods contain enough liquid to count toward your daily intake, including:
- Watermelons, oranges, celery and tomatoes
- Broths, soups, stews and other liquid-based foods
All of these can hydrate your body, but pay attention to the sodium content of soups, especially broth. High-salt foods can cancel out the hydrating effects. If you’re not a fan of plain fruit, try blending together a green smoothie using watery fruits, like watermelon or oranges, with nutritious greens, such as kale or spinach. The combination of water and fiber in a green smoothie can keep you hydrated and full, helping you to maintain your weight.
Creative Ways to Stay Hydrated
Aside from filling up a glass of water every couple of hours, there are creative ways to stay hydrated, especially for people who don’t like drinking plain water. You could try:
- Adding bits of fruit or flavored packets to change the flavor. Avoid artificial sweeteners and dyes when possible to boost the health content of your beverage.
- Switching to decaffeinated tea or coffee in the morning. You’ll still benefit from your morning cup without the dehydrating effects of caffeine.
- Making it a game. Challenge yourself to drink more fluids by keeping track of your intake in an app or a notebook. Competition can spur some people to up their game.
Swap out water for one or two of your drinks per day. When you’re eating out, order water instead of soda. Making small changes in the way you drink can help you build healthier habits in the long run. Water makes up about 70 percent of the human body. Getting enough fluid ensures that your organs can function properly, and staying hydrated can help fight food cravings, mental fog and fatigue.