In our previous blog post, we discussed the importance of staying hydrated: water is essential to helping your body optimize every cellular process. It helps your brain stay focused, regulates body temperature and even keeps your metabolism on track.
Hydrate Healthfully and Happily
We’ve established that good hydration is essential to good health, but how can you stay hydrated if drinking endless glasses of water just isn’t your thing? We have some ideas.
1. Establish your Liquid Intake Goal
You’ve probably heard the “8×8” rule to drink 8 ounces of water 8 times per day, right? While that’s a good starting point, depending on your age, the weather and your activity level, you might need more. Try this trick: Divide your weight in pounds by half and drink that number of ounces. For a 150-pound person, that’s 75 ounces per day. That’s about 2.2 liters, which is exactly what the Mayo Clinic recommends for women.
2. Sip Water Before Meals. One study found that individuals who drank an 8-ounce glass of water before eating their meal ate an average of 75 fewer calories per meal. That doesn’t sound like a lot – it’s the equivalent of a handful of trail mix – but do the math: 75 calories X 365 days per year is 27,375 calories a year. With 3,500 calories in a pound, those who drink a glass of water before just one meal per day would lose about eight pounds.
3. Snack on Water. Do you get the 3 pm munchies? Many of us do. When you get hunger pangs in the late-afternoon, try substituting a delicious glass of water and waiting 10 minutes before eating anything. You’ll be surprised how many times your hunger pangs will go away without the need for an actual food snack.
4. Buy a reusable water bottle. It’s easy to track your daily water intake if you invest in a reusable water bottle. Skip throwaway plastic water bottles that harm the environment—20% end up in landfills—and buy a 1-liter sized water bottle and commit to drinking its contents twice per day. When you have your water bottle at your side, it’s easier to achieve your liquid intake goal.
5. Flavor to Savor. Who needs mass-produced sugar-infused beverages when you can make your own: infuse water with fresh-cut wedges of orange, cucumber, lime and lemon overnight in the fridge. Then enjoy the refreshing, chilled taste the next day with no added calories, artificial sweeteners or other additives.
6. Water Rules. While all liquids you consume count toward your daily liquid intake goal, plain (or infused) water is always best. Milk, juice and herbal teas will all help hydrate your body. Coffee and caffeinated teas in moderation are also acceptable sources. Avoid alcohol, which is dehydrating. If you want to maximize hydration, sticking with good ole H2O gets the job done without any added sugars, caffeine or preservatives.
7. Schedule it. You schedule appointments, exercise and time with friends ― so why not schedule your hydration? Set deadlines throughout the day by which time you’ll drink a certain percentage of your liquid goal, and keep track. This will help reinforce the good habit of drinking enough water. Your body will thank you!
8. Foods Count, too! You don’t have to drink 100% of your liquid intake goal if you eat fresh fruits and vegetables that provide good sources of hydration. In fact, just about 75% of typical daily hydration should come from water; the other 25% should come in food form. All whole vegetables and fruits contain some water; here are our top picks:
- Cucumbers: 97% water
- Celery: 96% water
- Radishes and Tomatoes: 95% water
- Bell peppers (green, yellow or red): 93% water
- Watermelon and cauliflower: 92% water
- Strawberries, water and spinach: 91% water
- Grapefruit: 90% water
9. Go coconuts. Well, with your water, anyway. Have you tried coconut water? It’s readily available and packed with a mineral-rich liquid containing magnesium, potassium, sodium and calcium to replenish lost electrolytes in the hot summer weather. You can even freeze it into ice cubes or popsicles for a delicious and rehydrating summer treat.