When I think about hydration, I recall something that a college professor once said to my class before beginning a lecture. He looked around the room and proclaimed, "This has got to be the most hydrated generation!" If you were there, you would understand why he made that statement. Almost every student in the room had a water bottle sitting on top of their desk.
Are you like the students in my class? Do you feel like you're meeting your hydration goals? If you're thinking to yourself, "I'm not even sure how much fluid I should be drinking," you've come to the right place.
In today's post, I'm sharing a brief overview of hydration + my top 5 tips for staying hydrated.
Why Do I Need To Stay Hydrated?
Staying hydrated (AKA getting enough fluids) helps our body:
- Maintain a normal temperature
- Transport nutrients all throughout the body
- Eliminate waste via sweating, urinating, and bowel movements (going #2)
Without proper fluid intake, we risk dehydration, which can lead to:
- Dry skin
- Kidney problems (yikes) & more!
How Much Fluid Do I Need? 8 cups, right?
Depends. Just like we all have different energy needs, we also all have different fluid needs. Your fluid needs depend on several factors including:
- Activity level
- Overall health status (some diseases limit your fluid intake, while others require extra fluids)
If you want to get technical, the Dietary Reference Intakes state that females need about 2.1-2.7 liters of water (or 9-11 cups), and that males need about 2.4-3.7 liters (or 10-16 cups).
Does this mean you need to meticulously measure out how much fluid you consume throughout the day? Not necessarily. A report published by the Food and Nutrition Board found that people who let their thirst be their guide were able to meet their hydration needs. So simply honoring your thirst cues is a good way to stay hydrated.
Not sure if your thirst cues are working? Another easy way to make sure you're getting enough fluid is by looking at the color of your urine (sounds gross, but hey, it's effective). A "pale, straw color" is a good hue to aim for, but once you start creeping into anything darker than a deep yellow, you may want drink up!
5 Tricks That Help Me Stay Hydrated:
1. Carrying a water bottle: I'll start with the obvious, since I'm sure most of you guessed I was gonna say it. You're much more likely to sip sip sip throughout the day when your water is by your side & ready to go. Like your water cold? Use an insulated water bottle like this one, OR fill your bottle halfway with water and let it sit in the freezer overnight. When you're about to head out the door, fill the rest of your bottle up with cold water, and enjoy that icy goodness for hours.
2. Drinking from a straw: I find that drinking from a straw helps me drink waaaay more water because 1) it's more fun and 2) I don't have to worry about water spilling all over my face (which happens with some wide-mouth water bottles). Click here to see a water bottle similar to the one I use.
3. Drinking Herbal tea: Herbal tea is a great choice because it tastes delicious and is free of caffeine (a diuretic that can make you urinate more than you may need to). My current favorite flavor is the Celestial Seasonings Cinnamon Apple Spice.
4. Drinking Sparkling water: Y'all knew this one was coming (hehe). I recommend sparkling water because it's bubbly, flavorful and free of sugar that can damage your teeth. Speaking of damaging teeth, is it true that sparkling water is harmful to your pearly whites? According to the American Dental Association, that rumor is FALSE! They do advise watching how much citrus flavored water you consume, however, because the high acidity in those beverages can harm your enamel.
5. Hydrating foods: What's more satisfying than biting into a juicy watermelon or cool cucumber on a hot day? Many fruits and vegetables have a high water content that can contribute to your daily fluid intake. Other hydrating foods include soups made with broth, oatmeal, and even yogurt. Yeah girl!
What are some of your favorite ways to stay hydrated? What tricks from today's post are you planning on trying? Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!
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