You’ve heard it a thousand times: drink more water. Researchers say that 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated, so the odds are strong that you aren’t drinking enough either. Dehydration is responsible for a long list of health problems including high blood pressure, fatigue, weight gain, joint pain, kidney stones and many more. Our bones are 50% water, our blood is 80% water, and it must be constantly replenished for good health. It’s the most commonly overlooked malady, and also the easiest to fix. I could go on with reasons why you should be drinking more water, but hopefully you get the idea.
I’m often asked, “What type of water is the best?” The answer is to drink clean water that tastes good to you. Some companies make outlandish claims for their bottled water or filtration devices, anything from curing cancer to reversing diabetes. These are dishonest scams. Tap, filtered, bottled, reverse osmosis, spring, distilled… these are all fine just so long as it’s clean and pure and you enjoy drinking it. Getting the water into you is more important than the “type” of water. Any company making amazing claims for their water to improve your health in unusual ways is a worthless, overpriced scam. But if you enjoy drinking it, and its clean, then do what makes you happy. I choose to drink reverse osmosis myself because I like the taste and its also very inexpensive per gallon to put an RO system under your kitchen sink.
How much water should you be drinking? Women’s magazines other outfits are often suggesting that we drink 8 cups a day, or 10 cups, or check your urine color, or smell your urine… oh good grief! Here is the best method for calculating your daily water target:
_________ lbs (your body weight) X .66 = ounces per day of water
For example, if you weigh 130 lbs: 130 X .66 = 85 oz per day. Grab a calculator and figure out your daily target. Then get a portable water bottle and figure out how many bottles you ought to be drinking every day.
Now that you know “what, when, where, and why”, here are 12 simple ways to drink more water every day.
1, Carry a portable water bottle everywhere you go. I personally use Nalgene water bottles and have been for 20 years, because they are virtually indestructible and are easy to carry around. I literally have one in my hand everywhere I go, even into restaurants, which occasionally garners an odd glance. Once you get into the habit it becomes second nature and you don’t even think about it.
2. Set a timer. If you space out your water intake its very easy to get it down. Half a cup every :30 minutes is practically nothing; but by the end of a work day you’ll have downed 8 cups, painlessly. Set a timer on your smartphone to chime at you every :30 minutes until you get into the habit. Half a cup is about a mouthful.
3. There’s an app for that. There are countless free apps that help you to track your water intake, just search the Apple App Store or Google Play for “drink water”. The Fitbit app also does this.
4. Use flavoring. Some people find it unpleasant to drink water, but I’ve observed that sentiment goes away with time. They’re just not used to drinking so much water. There are many zero-calorie “on the go” products like Crystal Light or MIO. Some people like to infuse mint leaves, fruit chunks, or orange slices into their water (let it sit in a pitcher in your fridge overnight). Feel free to add flavorings if it helps you to get it down.
5. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty. If you are feeling thirsty then you are already dehydrated, and now you’re behind trying to play catch up. It takes time for the cells in your body to rehydrate. Its not a simple as chugging a huge bottle of water and feeling like you’ve caught up. Its best to get well hydrated and keep it there all day.
6. Ginger snaps. Ginger snap cookies have the ability to make you feel thirsty. While I don’t suggest cookies as a snack, if you find yourself compelled to have a treat, at least ginger snaps will amplify your thirst and compel you to drink more water. This is a good tip for kids by the way, who are also often dehydrated.
7. Spice it up. Similarly to ginger snaps, eating food with a bit of spice will tend to make you feel thirst, so add some hot sauce to your meals. Hot sauce is also a low calorie condiment, so feel free to indulge.
8. Eat your water. Water-rich foods like cucumbers, celery, apples, and melons are a great snack while also adding water. Also light soups or broths are obviously mostly water.
9. Feeling hungry? Drink! Often dehydration can manifest as a feeling of hunger. If you find that you are getting hungry, drink a cup of water and wait :10 minutes. You might find that the hunger dissipates, or at the very least holds your hunger at bay so you don’t raid the vending machine at work.
10. Wake up to a tall glass. Every morning when you wake you are severely dehydrated. You’ve just gone 6-8 hours without a drink (which is why your face is puffy). As soon as you wake up, drink a tall glass of water — just slam it back. You’ll feel feel it invigorate you instantly.
11. Booze and water, 1:1. We’ve all heard this hangover prevention before: drink a cup a water with every boozy beverage. It works. So next time you’re enjoying some drinks with your friends, chug a glass of water after each drink.
12. Carbonation. Many people find it easier and more pleasant to drink carbonated water. Products like the Soda Stream will make your water bubbly in under 5 seconds.
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