Your body is made up of about 60% water! We lose water via urine, perspiration, and respiration. Have you ever wondered how much water you should drink in a day? Is the recommended “8-glasses” enough? What about other beverages (coffee, tea, etc.)– do those count? Below are some tips on how to stay hydrated this summer and year round!
- How much? If you were to follow general guidelines, you should get 8-8 oz glasses per day. That is a total of 64 oz per day. That might actually be okay for many people! My general rule is this: drink half your body weight, in ounces, per day. So, for a 150 pound woman, that is 75 oz of water per day. This recommendation goes for water only. It important to listen to our bodies and drink when thirsty. However, if we wait until our body tells us to drink, we are often already a bit dehydrated at that point. That is why it is best to sip on water throughout the day and never get to the point of real thirst. During exercise or hot weather (i.e. when we sweat) we need to make up for the lost water with extra hydration.
- What form? Water seems to come in many forms these days– “smart” “zero” “sparkling” “naturally flavored.” I would consider any water-based beverage WITHOUT caffeine to count towards your total daily water intake. Caffeine has a slight diuretic effect, which may cause more water loss and no net hydration. See list below to see if your beverage counts towards your daily total:
- Yes: water, sparking water, herbal tea, flavored water beverages, decaf coffee, electrolyte beverages, coconut water
- No: coffee, green or black tea, cola, caffeinated sports beverages
- Food: veggies and fruits have naturally occurring water. However, it’s hard to estimate how much and add that into the total. I’d suggest counting fruits and veggies as “bonus” and still targeting a specific pure water intake goal.
- Do I have enough? Your urine should be straw colored. Very clear urine means you may be drinking too much water and very yellow urine means you are probably dehydrated. If you are taking vitamin supplements, beware that vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) will turn your urine bright, almost neon, yellow.
- Benefits of drinking water: can help with constipation, improve skin (especially acne), may aid weight loss, and has been shown to help in those with chronic headaches.
Fun water ideas:
- Add in lemon, lime, mint leaves, or cucumber to water.
- Make your own electrolyte beverage: take a pinch of sea salt, a splash of juice, and a squeeze of lemon or lime.
- Sparkling water makes a meal fun! There are many flavored sparking waters or add any of the above to your sparkling. Adding bitters (herbs that support digestion) to sparking water is also a fun way to make water interesting. I also like to add Emergen-C packets to water to make “soda.” You can probably trick your kids into liking this too!
- One of the most important aspects of ensuring hydration is routine. I’ve personally found that having a water bottle, toting it around with me, and tallying up the number of times I fill it in a day is the only way I can remember to get enough water (and keep tabs on the amount). Any other food or drinks on top of my daily water bottle tally are bonus! Try to get a glass, stainless steel or (at a minimum) BPA free plastic bottle to have on hand at your desk or as you go about your day.
Cheers to water!