You’ve heard or read about it time and again: drink water. With warmer summer weather and temps rising, it’s even more important to stay hydrated.
Water has many important jobs in your body. It helps to restore fluids lost through metabolism, breathing, sweating and the removal of waste. It regulates body temperature, carries nutrients and oxygen to your cells, keeps joints lubricated, aids digestion, maintains healthy skin and keeps organs functioning properly. According to experts, being well-hydrated also improves sleep quality, cognition and mood.
So how much do you need to drink every day?
“Eight glasses is a good goal, but a smaller person might not need as much. So, a good rule of thumb is to drink the equivalent of half of your body weight in fluid ounces,” says Alicia Galvin, RD, a Dallas-based dietitian and resident dietician to Sovereign Laboratories.
Water is of course the top choice for staying hydrated.
“If you don’t like plain water, non-caffeinated, herbal teas can contribute to good hydration and also have health benefits,” says Galvin. But there are other options, too.
“You can still consume things like juices and carbonated waters,” says Galvin. “The caveat with juices, though, is the caloric and sugar content, and too much carbonation can upset the stomach and bring in gas, which can mess with the acidity in your stomach.” She adds that you can get hydration from food, too. “Fresh fruit or soups with higher water content can contribute to overall fluid intake,” she says.
Speaking of fruit (and veggies, too), Galvin suggests infusing plain water with them. “In a water pitcher, throw in some sliced cucumbers, berries and/or lemon and let their flavors infuse.” Or buy a pitcher with an infuser in the center. She also recommends adding a splash of cranberry or pomegranate juice. “Any of these options will make the water look pretty and add a bit of flavor without a mass sugar load.”
If you’re active, Galvin recommends consuming electrolytes. “I’m not talking about traditional sports drinks, which have a lot of sugars. I’m talking a straight-up electrolyte drink, preferably one that doesn’t have sugar, or is sweetened naturally or with Stevia,” she says. And if you live in a hot, dry climate, Galvin notes that you’ll need to hydrate more to account for any sweat loss.
“You lose water when breathing in dryer climates,” she explains. The same principal applies to being on an airplane. “If you’re flying at all this summer—or any time you fly—the plane cabin is very dry from being pressurized. So, you want to drink eight fluid ounces for every hour you’re in the air.”
Inspiration to Hydrate
A colorful bottle—maybe one with a motivational message—can help inspire you to stay hydrated this summer. Here are some fun options.
HydroJug. Holds a half-gallon of water. Customize your jug with a colorful sleeve. Starting at $19.99.
Hydromate. Fun messages on different-sized bottles. Starting at $25.95.
Natural Life. We all need reminders to drink more water. Starting at $20.