Friday, June 9, 2023

Not Drinking Enough Water? Here’s How to Stay Hydrated

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Dehydrated? Thirst not, we’ve got easy tips for upping your water game, from smart water bottles to apps that help track intake.

Feeling a little parched? The odds are you aren’t drinking enough water.

You’re certainly not alone. About 75 percent of Americans suffer from chronic dehydration — a condition that occurs when the body loses more fluids than it takes in. 

Not drinking enough water can result in a variety of ailments, including headaches, dry skin, and urinary tract infections, according to Rutgers University. Lack of hydration can also cause moodiness and fatigue.

“Some research has shown that just mild dehydration can lead to neurological changes that affect our ability to focus and can cause irritability,” Karen Ensle EdD, RDN, FAND, CFCS, a health sciences educator at Rutgers, explains

“Even more shocking is that you only need to be one percent below your optimal level of hydration to feel these negative effects,” Ensle adds.

How much water should you drink each day?

By now, you’ve likely heard the adage that you must drink eight cups of water per day.

The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine advises people to drink a bit more, recommending an adequate daily water intake of 15.5 cups for men and 11.5 cups for women. But according to Harvard University, four to six cups will suffice.

woman drinking water
About 75 percent of Americans aren’t drinking enough water. | Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash

So how much water should you be drinking? Well, that depends.

“Your size, metabolism, location, diet, physical activity, and health all factor into how much water you need,” Roxanne B. Sukol, MD, a preventative medicine specialist, told the Cleveland Clinic.

For example, people who frequently exercise will likely need to consume more water than those who are sedentary. The same goes for people living in warmer climates since the body loses fluids from sweating.

On the other hand, it is possible to drink too much water. As a general rule, consult with your physician to determine how much water is right for you.

Benefits of staying hydrated

Ensuring you consume enough fluids is important because water is essential for optimal health.

“Everything in your body depends on optimal hydration, from organ function to hormone balance,” Los Angeles–based nutritionist Kimberly Snyder told Vogue. “When you’re hydrated, your joints are lubricated, your skin is being nourished, and your hair follicles are able to grow in healthfully.”

woman in bikini drinking water
Water is essential for optimal health. | Photo by Andrea Piacquadio via Pexels

Water regulates body temperature, improves blood pressure, and rids the body of waste through sweat, urination, and bowel movements.

Since plasma, the main component of blood, is primarily made up of water, fluids also help to carry nutrients and oxygen to the body’s cells.

What’s more, drinking more water may also help aid weight loss. In addition to boosting energy — thus making exercising a bit easier — studies show the calorie-free liquid may help to boost metabolism and suppress appetite.

Tips for staying hydrated

The thirst is real, so boost your water intake throughout the day. Here are seven simple tips for staying hydrated.

Opt for a water filter

In order to boost your fluid intake, you have to start with the basics: clean water.

According to the CDC, the U.S. has “one of the safest and most reliable drinking water systems in the world.” But a 2019 report by the Environmental Working Group linked 22 carcinogens commonly found in tap water, including arsenic and radium, to an increased risk of cancer.

For cleaner and better-tasting water, opt for a water filter, such as the Aarke Glass Water Purifier, which is plastic-free.

Set a notification

Another great way to stay on track of your daily water intake is to set an hourly notification on your phone or smartwatch. For a more high-tech option, snag the Ulla Smart Hydration Reminder. Featuring smart detection sensors, the gadget, which fits around any bottle, blinks for an hourly reminder to drink more water.

Download a hydration app

Need to drink more water? There’s an app for that. From WaterMinder to My Water, there are a number of helpful apps designed to help you keep track of your water intake. It’s simple: just download and sip for optimal hydration.

Carry a water bottle

Make sure you’re staying hydrated on the go by keeping a water bottle on hand.

The LARQ water bottle is the perfect option for all of your sipping needs. The self-cleaning water bottle and water purification system helps to remove 99 percent of contaminants like E. coli from your water.

Add a little flavor

Not a fan of plain water? Spice up your mundane cup of water with a little flavor. Cucumbers, mint, and citrus fruits like lemons and limes are perfect for giving your water a little flavor punch. Your taste buds will thank you later.

Eat your water

You don’t have to drink your water. You can eat it, too. According to the Mayo Clinic, about 20 percent of the body’s daily water intake is obtained from foods.

Quench your thirst by biting into water-rich foods like cucumbers, watermelon, tomatoes, and peaches. Made up of about 96 percent water, cucumbers have the highest water content of any food!

Make it fizzy

Give your water a bubbly makeover with the Terra SodaStream, which can turn plain water into sparkling water in a matter of seconds.

How does it work? The gadget injects carbon dioxide into the water for added fizz. A cold cup of it is like heaven on ice.

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