Water does more than just quench your thirst. It also lubricates your joints, nourishes your cells, maintains your body temperature, and helps remove waste from your body. Staying hydrated is key to staying healthy, and many people who want to become healthier overall can start doing so simply by increasing the amount of water they consume in their diet. Here’s what you need to know about hydration and how to stay hydrated.
What Is Hydration?
Hydration is the process of consuming enough water to meet your body’s daily needs. It can actually be fairly easy to neglect due to nutritional choices, which means your body will be struggling to get the most use possible out of the moisture in your body. This can lead to dry skin, intestinal problems, difficulty focusing, and many other issues that are easy to ignore or explain away.
How To Stay Hydrated
You can get water from numerous sources. The primary source, of course, is your faucet, drinking regular water out of a glass or a water bottle. But many drinks and foods actually contain significant amounts of water that can help you nourish your body. Some of these include:
- Herbal tea
- Sparkling water
- Fruit juices with no added sugar
- Natural, low-sodium soups and broths
- Juicy fruits like berries, melons, and citrus fruits
- Vegetables like leafy greens, cucumbers, zucchini, and tomatoes
If you need to consume more water, however, it’s a good idea to stay away from foods and drinks that contain lots of fat, sugar, artificial sweeteners, and caffeine. Drinking sports drinks is okay if you’re doing strenuous activities, but even some sports drinks contain more sugar than is really necessary for regaining electrolytes. If you’re thirsty, stay away from coffee, sodas, energy drinks, and other sweetened beverages.
Most doctors recommend that people drink eight glasses of water per day to provide their bodies with enough water to function. Many people consume far less water than that per day, so making this change can have a significant impact on your overall wellness.
Signs of Dehydration
Dehydration can be challenging to identify, especially if you’re accustomed to a lifestyle of not consuming enough water. However, if you watch out for certain signals, you can begin to understand if your body is asking for more water. Some of these signals include:
- Dark-colored urine and less frequent urination
- Extreme thirst
- Fatigue and dizziness
- Dry, cool skin
- Dry mouth or lips
- Intestinal problems
Sometimes the body will also signal your need for more water by making you feel hungry. If it’s the middle of the day and you’ve eaten recently but begin to feel hungry again, try drinking some water before getting a snack.
Dehydration can lead to serious medical problems if it’s allowed to progress, and staying in a lifestyle of constant dehydration can also lead to health problems further down the line. Talk to your doctor if you experience frequent dehydration, as it may also be a symptom of a different underlying issue.
Tips for Staying Hydrated
Staying hydrated isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Many people lead busy lives and don’t want to lug around a big jug of water. However, it’s still important to find time during the day to take a brief water break, and there are plenty of things you can do to help you grow accustomed to living more hydrated.
Find a high-quality, reusable water bottle
One of the best ways to maintain hydration throughout the day is to find a high-quality, reusable water bottle to carry around with you everywhere. Studies show and many people testify that the more accessible water is to you at any given moment, the more likely you are to regularly drink. Choose a water bottle that’s easy to carry around. If you like, you can even use a cup with a lid, or a cup or bottle that uses a straw (some people find that having a water container with a straw makes them more likely to drink from it).
Some people just don’t like the taste of water, and that’s okay. Fortunately, there are many ways to add natural flavors to water without adding a ton of sugar. You could even try adding a splash of no-sugar-added, 100 percent fruit juice. Also, drinking herbal tea regularly can provide great hydration benefits, since it’s basically just water with herbal flavors in it.
If you’re the type of person who just forgets to drink water, set yourself reminders on your smartphone or computer. Most app stores also have apps that allow you to track your water consumption, and even give you handy visual representations of your hydration level, such as watching an animated plant grow.
Eat your fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables aren’t just a source of dietary fiber that’s necessary for daily nutrition. They also contain lots of vitamins, minerals, and water, all of which is good for digestion and daily hydration. If you don’t like fruits or vegetables, try making smoothies with fruit juice and/or yogurt as a base liquid. This is a popular way to eat greens, since most people can’t taste spinach or kale in a smoothie after it’s been blended up.
Let Us Help!
We know that some of the seemingly simplest aspects of maintaining your health can often be some of the most complicated or difficult. But if you’re able to get into the habit of doing them, you’ll reap huge rewards in the long run (and even sometimes within just a few weeks or months). If you want to learn more about how to stay hydrated and healthy on a daily basis, we’d love to come alongside you for the journey. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!