Ever have a friend that refused to drink plain old water, who always had to have something sugary, caffeinated and colorful? I vividly remember one friend who used to joke that she was “allergic” to water and had to be coaxed into drinking it. It’s really too bad because that can’t be good for anyone’s health. Though most of us are not water-averse, the fact remains that many people do not consume nearly enough water per day.
According to the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, as referenced in an article by the Mayo Clinic titled “Water: How much should you drink every day?”, on average, men should strive to drink about 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids and about 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women. So, imagine drinking a little over a two-liter bottle of water a day or a little over one-and-one half two liter bottles over the course of a day, as recommendations suggest. Chances are that seems farfetched, but regardless of how close you are to that daily goal, the benefits of intentional water intake are undeniable.
What Water Does for Us
In a recent article by Harvard Health titled “How much water should you drink?”, it lists the irreplaceable roles that water fulfills in our bodies. Besides the obvious need to avoid dehydration, the water we drink delivers nutrients and oxygen to the cells, flushes out bad bacteria, aids the digestive process and prevents constipation. Additionally, water helps to regulate blood pressure and body temperature, as well as providing joint cushioning and protection of organs and tissues. Lastly, proper water intake helps to maintain electrolyte and sodium balance.
If enough water is consumed every day to carry out those tasks, then that means you’re hydrated. If not, you risk dehydration, which can manifest into symptoms such as weakness, dizziness, low blood pressure, confusion or dark urine.
Tips for Improving Water Intake
The Mayo Clinic published a helpful tip sheet to encourage proper water intake, so let’s look at some clear actions we can take to get the glasses flowing.
- Bring on the flavor- Add fruit to your water for a more enjoyable and aesthetically pleasing beverage. Lemons, limes and oranges are tried and true popular choices. Cucumber, watermelon, strawberries and herbs also are delicious and nutritious.
- Build it into a routine- Turn drinking a glass of water into a daily self-care habit in tandem with other common tasks. For instance, drink a glass before or after brushing your teeth, or after combing your hair.
- Sneaky water treats- Don’t like drinking so many glasses of water? Eat it instead! Many favorite fruits and veggies already contain high water levels, so stock up on melons, celery, lettuce and cucumber for added nutrition benefits at the same time.
- Technology to keep you on track- It’s not a necessity to add the potential expense of various water-tracking technologies, but they can help. Perhaps consider investing in a water bottle marked with measurements or utilizing a phone app with fun reminders. The possibilities are endless.
- Competition and Accountability- Start a fun competition with friends to see who can meet their water intake goals most often.
- Don’t forget the water bottle!- It proves even more challenging to drink up on the go, but it helps to always bring your favorite water bottle, filled and ready.
- Alternate if necessary- It isn’t easy to give up sugary drinks, but take it slow and break up less healthful choices with a glass of water in order to build on the healthier habit.
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