As a naturopathic doctor, I’ve heard every reason in the book why someone might not be able to get in their recommended ounces of water each day.
“I’m too busy,” “I forget,” and the oh-so-common, “I just hate plain water” are a few.
And, yes, I get it. Gulping glass after glass of plain water can be a bore… and a chore. The great news is that there are “hydration helpers” out there you can use to bump up your body’s hydration level without being married to a glass! I’ll share those in a minute, but first, let’s get back to the basics.
What Is Hydration?
Hydration is defined as the process of causing something to absorb water. In our case, we’re talking about the human body, of course. But you can think about this in other contexts, too. For example, if you want to use a sponge to clean your sink, do you put the sponge in there when it’s dry and expect it to do its job? No. You wet it first so it becomes pliable and, well, useful. The same is true for our bodies. They need water to function as they should.
Why Do Our Bodies Need Water?
The list of reasons our bodies need hydration is a lengthy one (see a previous article here), but here’s a quick recap:
- It keeps your skin smoother and healthier, so you enjoy a youthful glow and you aren’t stuck scratching at itchy, dry skin all day.
- It supports cognitive function and helps cut through the dreaded “brain fog” that can derail your productivity… and your whole day.
- It keeps your systems going… and flowing. From balanced electrolytes, to joints, muscles, circulation, body temperature, and even your internal “plumbing,” water is the magic elixir that keeps your body’s systems in tip-top shape.
How Much Water Do Our Bodies Need?
Let’s talk about how much you actually need. The hard truth is, you can’t get all those body-boosting benefits from a glass or two of water per day. You already know this though, don’t you?
While you should always consult with your doctor to get advice tailored to your personal needs and health situation, a good rule of thumb is to consume half your body weight in ounces, each and every day. So if you’re 150 pounds, you should shoot for at least 75 ounces of water per day. If it’s hot out or you’re very active, you’ll need more.
How Do I Know If I’m Drinking Enough Water?
You’ll know you’re meeting your body’s hydration needs if your urine is light or non-colored. If your urine is dark or if you feel thirsty, you’re either teetering on the edge of dehydration, or you’re already there.
But What If I Hate Drinking Water? What Can I Do Instead?
Ah, yes! This is where those “hydration helpers” I mentioned above come into play. If you loathe chugga-lugging glass after glass of plain water, this section is for you.
Add Some Flavor
One of the easiest ways to make water more palatable is to add a shot of natural flavor. Try these:
- Citrus fruit slices, like lemon, lime, or orange
- Herbs like fresh mint leaves, basil, or cilantro
- Fruits like melon, berries, and even pineapple
- Cucumbers, which give water a clean, crisp, spa-like flavor
You can also use my beloved Lemon Sips, an easy-to-mix powder that, when combined with water, creates a sugar-free, fat-free, citrusy-delicious drink that refreshes and satisfies! I call it a “refreshing, detoxifying upgrade to your H2O.” (Really, it says that right on the packaging!)
Lemon Sips not only make your water tastier and—dare I say it—more exciting, they also:
- Helps detoxify + flush waste from your system
- Helps diminish cellulite and skin dimpling
- Rehydrates and nourishes your skin
- Helps protect skin from UV damage
- Gives you a healthy boost of energy
That’s a lot of bang for your water-drinking buck, wouldn’t you say? If you like lemon, you gotta try Lemon Sips.
Feast On Water-Heavy Foods
Did you know that some foods are 90-100% water? While I won’t tell you to eat a tomato and a cucumber and call it good for your daily water intake, these water-packed fruits and veggies can boost your hydration levels and your nutrient intake. Add them to your plate as often as you can.
- Bell peppers
- Summer squash
HOT TIP: Try making “noodles” out of squash or zucchini. More water, fewer carbs. Boom!
What About Tea and Coffee? Do They Count Toward My Water Goals?
Coffee used to have a bad rap for being dehydrating, but now that tune has changed. While coffee does have a slight diuretic effect, the amount of fluid lost is more than offset by the amount of fluid you’re taking in. So, yes, tea and coffee count toward your hydration goals. Just be sure not to overdo it with caffeine.
Honing Your Hydration
With so many hydration helpers literally at your fingertips, you should have no problem getting all the water your body needs and craves. Keep at it and don’t be afraid to get creative.