Hey guys! I trust everyone is having a happy and healthy week thus far. I am back with a very simple reminder today to drink lots of water. Yep, you have probably heard this tip a million times, but it literally is the stuff of life. Despite how simple it seems, I have to remind people every day to drink more water.
Over half of our bodies are composed of water. We are constantly trying to maintain a state of equilibrium between what we expel (sweating, breathing, urinating…) and what we take in through food and drink. If you are doing a good job of eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, you will actually get some hydration through eating. The rest you need to take in through beverages.
There is some debate on how much water we need in a day. The prevailing recommendation is to drink about 64 ounces a day (8 cups). This video from Dr. Micheal Greger at nutritionfacts.org breaks down the actual scientific evidence. His research-based recommendation (if you are following a healthy diet high in fresh produce and have no current bladder dysfunction) is about 4-7 cups for women and 6-11 cups for men daily.
Some of my personal tips for increasing your water intake include drinking a glass as soon as you wake up in the morning. In our 21 Day Clean Eating Challenge that we offer at Excellence in Exercise, we recommend a glass of warm lemon water upon waking. When you get up in the morning you are in a dehydrated state after sleeping, so you want to make sure to get some water in before you do anything else. I am also a big fan of keeping a water bottle with you so that you have access to water throughout the day, no matter where you are. I also try to make sure I fill my bottle up at least three times throughout the day to make sure I am getting at least 6-7 cups throughout the work day.
During the cold winter months it is less appealing to drink cold water (at least in my opinion), so try room temperature water to encourage yourself to drink more. Herbal tea can also be a way to get an extra cup or two in, just try to keep them plain with no added sweetener. Infusing water with lemon, orange, cucumber or mint is also a great way to get a little flavor without adding any calories if you are used to drinking flavored beverages. There is some research that drinking too much water during a meal can hinder digestion as it dilutes the acids necessary to break down food, so if you tend to get gassy or have indigestion try drinking your fluids in the time between your meals instead.
I also like to encourage people to drink a full glass of water before going out to a holiday dinner or a party. If you are even slightly dehydrated your body may feel hungrier so you end up eating more than you need. Making sure to drink a lot of water before, during and after imbibing in alcoholic beverages can help keep you from drinking too much alcohol and also help deter some of the negative consequences if you do consume a little more than you intended.
Cheers to a hydrated holiday season! 😉