Image by: Matt Rudge
By Harper Finch
Your water intake is one of the keys to maintaining good health. Water is the principal component of your body, composing up to 60% of your weight, and every system in your body needs it to function properly. Water delivers essential nutrients to your cells and flushes toxins from your body. A 2003 study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, found that when participants consumed 50mL of water per day, their metabolic rates were increased by roughly 30%. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14671205
We all know that drinking water is important, but many of us still reach for drinks that are filled with chemicals, caffeine, and sugar when we are thirsty. Of course we’d love to drink more water–if only it wasn’t so boring! Here are a few ways that you can get the water you need, and the taste-bud gratification that you want:
How Much Water?
You are probably most familiar the rule that you should drink 64 ounces, or eight 8-ounce glasses, of water per day. But did you know that there are no notable scientific studies that support this “8 by 8” rule?
Currently, the Institute of Medicine sets its guidelines for total water intake at a total of 91 ounces per day. I know it sounds like a lot, but it doesn’t only come from the water you drink out of a bottle; it also comes from the other beverages and foods that you consume. Depending on your diet, about 25% of the water you take in will come from food.
There are several factors that influence the amount of water you need each day, including how active you are and the climate you live in. Of course, the more you perspire, the more fluid you need to take in to replenish your body. Your health also affects your needs, including whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
Now, let’s look at some ways you can meet your daily requirement…
Tea is my go-to when I know I need more fluids but can’t stand to look at my water bottle anymore. It can help hydrate you, as well as benefit your body. Green tea lowers your risk of heart disease and can boost your metabolism. Chamomile tea can help control blood pressure, soothe your stomach, and help you sleep better.
Broth is a great hydrator and it’s full of nutrients. Plus, if you are sick, it can help you feel better. A study done at the University of Nebraska Medical Center found that there is “evidence that chicken soup might have an anti-inflammatory activity,” which can benefit respiratory problems.
#3) High-Water-Content Food
What you eat can also provide a significant portion of your fluid needs. Nutritionist, Alan Aragon, MS says, “Fruits are 80 to 90% water, and you’re getting a bunch of good nutrition that people tend to miss in their diets–potassium, fiber, folate, vitamin A, vitamin C.”
Watermelon and tomatoes are among the most fluid-filled, with 90% or more water by weight. Vegetables will do the trick, too. A salad of water-rich greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, and corn makes a great lunch because, not only will it help hydrate you, it is low in calories and full of nutrients.
#4) Flavored Water
To give your water a little kick, flavor it! Add lemon or cucumber slices or, for a great summertime treat, add fruit while it’s at its growing peak. Devon Metz, founder of Fit Health Into Life in Boulder, CO recommends adding antioxidants with sliced berries. You also can add watermelon, cherries, orange slices, or anything else that sounds good to you. Check out this page on theyummylife.com, for one of the most inclusive flavored-water-recipe lists I’ve seen.
The easiest way to make flavored water is with a fruit-infusion pitcher. It has a slotted tube that gets filled with fresh fruit and allows you to refill the water to make multiple pitchers of flavored water from the same batch of fruit and continue to enjoy great-tasting water for days. It is much more economical than buying flavored water and has no chemicals like those flavor enhancers that you squirt into your water. Many retail stores carry these pitchers, or you can get one on Amazon.