Do you drink enough water throughout the day? I don’t. As much as I try, I just don’t really like water that much. And although water is so important for health, vitality and beauty, it can be really hard to drink enough.
What’s the Deal With Water Anyway?
The human body is made up of more than half water and we can’t go more than a few days without it. We will simply die without water. Cells need fluid to help move food and wastes around. The blood is made up of a lot of water and uses its fluidity to move oxygen around. The body needs oxygen, blood carries oxygen, blood is mostly water. Make sense? Physiologically, we rely on having enough liquid in the body in order to function properly and live.
Water also helps digest food, keep the digestive system working and creating waste. It also allows us to sweat and naturally cool ourselves during hot days or physical exercise. Water is also part of lymph, which is part of the immune system. So not having enough fluid in the body to keep the lymph flowing freely can lead to illness or trouble getting over illnesses. Clearly, hydrating is important.
Beyond basic survival and optimally functioning, water has long been touted as a beauty secret. Celebrities are always talking about hydrating as being their secret beauty weapon and it makes sense. Enough fluids in your body keep the skin moist, glowing and youthful-looking. Dry, brittle or cracked skin does not give the appearance of beauty or healthiness.
How Much Water Do You Need:
Beyond just drinking water, we get fluid or water intake from other beverages, fruits and vegetables. Some fruits and veggies have a lot of water, as is seen by biting into them (like peaches or watermelon). Others have very little water content, like broccoli and bananas, so the amount of water you take in by eating is highly dependent on what you eat.
The actual answer of how much water you need is complex. I’ve heard 8 glasses a day. I’ve heard half your body weight in ounces (so a 130-pound person would need 65 ounces per day or 5 12-ounce glasses full). Other factor to consider are activity level and where you live. I live at 8,500 feet above sea level. The air is thin, the sun is bright and water evaporates very quickly – all this leads to drinking way more water than at sea level, especially in summer or when out biking. I know I’m chronicle dehydrated so it’s something I always think about.
The best thing I’ve come up with is gauging how you feel and monitoring your wastes. The old adage is the more clear your pee, the more hydrated you are. I’ve seen this to be true. When I’m not drinking enough water, I’ll go all day without peeing and when I do, it’s almost thick and dark looking. That doesn’t look like I’m hydrated. When I drink a lot, I go a lot and it’s much more clear and thin. Also pay attention to the moisture in your nose or eyes, the dryness of your lips or mouth and how your skin feels. It’s not about a number or striving to take in X amount of ounces per day because someone told you to, it’s more about paying attention to your body and figuring out what hydrating looks and feels like for you. Of course, when you’re sweating (either during a hot day or while exercising), drink more. If you’re enjoying dehydrating things, like coffee or alcohol, think about drinking a little more water to compensate.
Ok, so you know why water matters and how much you should drink. So for those who struggle with hydration, here are 3 ways to hydrate without drinking plain water.
3 Ways to Hydrate Without Drinking Plain Water
1. Eat more fruits and veggies with high water content.
Rather than snacking on broccoli, maybe have some green pepper. Or lettuce versus collard greens. While these might seem like less nutritious choices, if you’re after hydrating, it matters. The same goes with fruits. Melons, berries, oranges and peaches are very wet compared to bananas. Actually, come to think of it, most fruits have pretty high moisture content.
2. Drink tea.
Be careful with this one to avoid other fix ins – mainly sugar. Simple brewed teas are a great way to drink water with some pizzazz. I like a cup of peppermint at night or sometimes a fruit herbal tea with a couple drops of pure stevia as an afternoon treat. Note that sodas and other store-bought drinks often are more other stuff, like sugar and preservatives, than water and don’t count.
3. Reinvent your water.
You can get as fancy or simple as you’d like, but experiment with mint, lemon, lime, berries, cucumbers or basil. I like a simple squeeze of lemon in my glass to make my water more drinkable. This is especially useful when the water tastes weird. If you’re sensitive to gross water, you know that this can totally hamper hydration efforts. A little lemon can go a long way.
For more ongoing efforts, keep a pitcher in the fridge with your favorite add-ins. The longer the water sits, the more the flavor will develop. Experiment with different combinations to keep things fresh.
Another fun alternative is a pseudo-lemonade. Use the juice of one lemon per pint glass of water and add 2-3 drops of pure liquid stevia. It’s really like a simple, refreshing lemonade without the blood sugar spike. Be careful since this is a lot of citrus and can be hard on the teeth and stomach.There are probably plenty more ideas of how to get hydrated without drinking plain water. Share your ideas and successes in the comments.