Staying hydrated, or getting enough water throughout the day can be difficult for many of us. Most people don't wake up in the morning and set as a goal for the day to drink enough water and it really isn't the last thing most of us think about as we drift to sleep, "did I get enough H2O"? Few of us get into bed at night and think I should have actually eaten today. That's because eating food is generally a higher priority than drinking water.
I hear this a lot "I'm just too busy to remember to drink water" or "I already pee like 20 times per day, and I need to drink more water" or "if I drank more water then I would need to give up some of my coffee". I get all of the excuses, but when people really begin to understand how important hydration is, the excuses begin to melt away.
So why is hydration so important for us?
Our bodies are composed of more than 62% water and it is needed for nearly every chemical process in our body. Water helps transport nutrients into cells, carry waste out of cells and out of the body, cushion organs, support our blood supply, fight infection, and keep our skin elastic and glowing. Water supports other processes like sex (think natural lubricant), breast milk supply for those nursing mama's out there, kidney function and overall detox. I could keep going, but I will stop here: ENERGY. Water is so important for you to feel energized.
But how much water do I really need?
A good general rule is taking you body weight in pounds and dividing it in half. A good average for women is about 90 ounces and for men it would be about 120 ounces. That is 8 glasses of water for women and about 12 for men. This liquid includes water you would get from food sources too. Think about foods like cucumbers, watermelons, even soup. You can get a lot of water/hydration from these foods.
If you find it difficult to remember to drink enough water consider setting a reminder on your phone or keep a log of what you are drinking for a few days. Tally up glasses of water, make a note of what time of day you hit your hydration goal. If you review a few days logs, you may be able to find areas where you can improve. There are even water tracking apps like Foodstand, which allows you to log the number of glasses you consume throughout the day.
Water, is that it?
Nope, there are definitely some alternatives to choose from if water is just too boring for you.
-Try flavoring your water by adding some slices lemon, cucumbers or melons. You could also add fresh herbs like mint into a glass before filling it with water.
-Ice tea is a great way to sip you way to hydration goals. In truth hot tea counts too. Just make sure you aren't adding too much sugar to your tea, but that's a topic for another day.
-Kombucha! This is a great go-to. It is a bit more exciting than water and contains live probiotics which also aid digestion, mood, immunity, and it's just fun to say "kombucha".
-Eat foods that have high water content like melons, cucumbers, celery, fruit or jicama. I wouldn't solely depend on this for your water needs, but incorporating these foods into you diet will help with overall hydration health.
-Buy a cute/fun water bottle that you are happy to carry around because it makes you feel super hip. Then show off you amazing hydration skills by drinking all that water you keep putting in it.
Give it a try! Log for a few days your water intake and see if you can reach your ounces goal.
Caitlin Johnson is a dietitian, wife, lover of ice cream, chef wannabe, California-girl, Christian, liver eating, "food-avore."
110 N McClelland Street
Santa Maria, California 93454