As important as food is to fueling our bodies, water is vital to sustaining many of our bodies’ operations. Our blood is 92% water, our brains and muscles 75%, and our bones 22%. Water plays a role in lubricating our joints, keeping our body temperature normal, cushioning our spinal cord, and removing waste from out bodies.
So how much water do we need every day? One’s daily fluid needs depend on the local climate, activity level, how much one sweats, body size and gender. A general rule of thumb is to drink enough water to prevent thirst. A good starting point is 2 liters (~9 cups) of fluid if you are a female, and 3 liters (~13 cups) of fluid a day for males. You get water from food and drinks, so don’t worry if it sounds like a lot of water to be drinking. You know you’re drinking enough water if your urine is clear or pale yellow.
Have a hard time remembering to drink water? Here are some tips to help you meet your fluid needs:
- Never say no to water: When anyone offers water, just say yes.
- Always finish your water. Finish every glass, even at restaurants where vigilant servers constantly refill your water.
- “Eat” your fluids: Fluids don’t always have to be served in a glass! Many fruits and vegetables are over 75% water! Snack on watermelon or strawberries, which are about 92% water. Make a salad with cucumbers, lettuce, tomato, cabbage, zucchini, or broccoli, all of which are also over 90% water! Have a side of soup or broth with your meal for an extra fluid boost. Other high-water content fruits and vegetables include cantaloupe, oranges, cranberries, apples, pears, peaches, carrots, peppers, eggplant, cauliflower, and spinach. Blend some of these in a smoothie for a quick breakfast or snack.
- Flavor your water: If the taste of plain water isn’t scintillating enough for your sophisticated palate, try naturally flavoring your water with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice, or infusing your water by throwing in a few strawberries, kiwi, cucumber, orange, mint, or melon slices. Consider getting a special infuser water bottle.
- Drink healthy alternatives. Widely recognized as delicious and awesome, coconut water usually contains little or no added sugar. Plant-based milks are also a great low-sugar option. Don’t drink sports drinks, soda, or sweetened water though.
- Add some spice to your foods: Add a few sprinkles of chili flakes or a dash of Sriracha or hot sauce to your next salad, pasta, or rice dish. The spice will drive you to water.
- Use an app: It’s no surprise that there’s an app for everything, even for tracking your water intake. Use Waterlogged (iOS), Daily Water (iOS, Android), Water Your Body (Android), or Waterlog (Android) to track your water intake and send yourself reminders to take a sip every few minutes.