Wow! Pittsburgh has been in the grip of some of the hottest weather since last summer. Since the air conditioning is out in my office in the city, I’ve been pushing the water intake pretty heavily. Not only for myself, but also for my three grandchildren that I watch at my office, pretty much everyday. So I wanted to do a post on the health benefits of water and ways to up your water intake.
Everyone knows that water is an important part of taking good care of yourself, due to the dangers of dehydration, and the many benefits it provides you. However, it is all too common to not drink enough water during the day, whether because you don’t enjoy it, you don’t think you have the time, or you simply forget.
When you get enough water during the day, it can help with:
- Improving your skin, hair, and nails
- Relieving headaches
- Reducing muscle cramps
- Helping to flush out your body
- Improving weight loss efforts
- Giving you more energy
This report is going to go over some of the different ways you can increase your water intake daily, as well as how to remind yourself it is time to drink more.
Drink Water Before Every Meal
The first tip for drinking more water on a regular basis is simple – just have a full glass of water before each meal and/or snack you consume, including before your morning cup of coffee. This is one of those simple reminders that allows you to drink more water, without really having to think too much about it. Train your mind to know that if you are going to put anything into your body, whether it is your breakfast or a late-night treat, you have to drink 8 ounces of water first.
This provides multiple benefits. First, it of course reminds you to drink another glass of water. It is also going to help your food digest a little better. Plus, it prevents you from overeating since the water helps to fill you up a little. It is not uncommon to think you are hungry, when in fact you are thirsty. If you are no longer hungry after the full glass of water, wait a bit before eating.
You should also try to drink a glass of water before or after every other beverage you consume. If you want a can of pop with lunch, force yourself to drink the same amount of water as well. Although,as a health coach, I don’t recommend drinking pop at all.
Make Your Own Infused or Flavored Water
A common problem people have with drinking water isn’t that they don’t remember to drink it, but they’re just not interested in it. This is when you have some other options. You don’t necessarily have to drink just plain filtered or tap water all day, every day. There are many ways to add flavor to your water and make it more interesting, without piling on the sugar and calories.
The Simple Method
If you are short on time and just want a super quick way to add flavor to your water, go with the lemon water. All you need to do is add a few lemon wedges into your water, squeezing in the juice first, then putting the wedges in it. Lemons have a lot of tart juice, so this will flavor your water quickly and easily. You can also try a mixture of lemon and lime, or use other juicy fruits like grapefruit. (Which is my particular favorite).
Fruit or Vegetable Infused Water
When you are willing to spend more time on your water, you can use other fruits, vegetables, and even herbs to flavor this water. This is called infused water, since it is a longer infusing process. You aren’t just flavoring your water with these ingredients, but adding more nutrients from the produce and herbs.
To make infused water, you should have a glass pitcher and access to filtered water preferably. Prepare your fruits, veggies, and herbs depending on what they are. Berries should be sliced so you can access the juice inside, fruits with hard skin should be peeled first. Veggies should also be peeled and chopped. Muddle your herbs to release the oils and flavors.
Add the ingredients to the bottom of the pitcher, cover with ice, then add your water. Let it sit in the refrigerator for as long as you can before drinking it, which really allows those flavors and nutrients to come through.
Choose a Cup You Love to Use
Do you want to encourage yourself to drink more water? It’s all in the cup! If you use boring water bottles you don’t like, then you probably won’t drink as much water as you should. A good way to have fun with your water and remember to bring the bottle everywhere with you is to choose a water bottle that works best for you.
This might mean the overall look and color of it, or the ease of holding onto it while walking. There are so many small details in a water bottle that determine if it’s a good fit or not. For example, if you drive a lot, you want it to fit perfectly in your cup holder. On the other hand, if you bike for exercise, you may want it to have a tight lid, but one that is easy to pop off when drinking while riding.
Try out a few different cups until you feel like you have found the one that is perfect for you.
Limit Other Drinks You Consume
Another little trick for drinking more water is to reduce all of the other drinks you consume. This doesn’t mean drinking water 100 percent of the time and never having a cup of juice or pop again. But, it does help to reduce them, so that when you are thirsty, you go for water instead. This eventually increases your water intake simply because you are going for water when you feel a thirst, and not other beverages.
Always Track Your Water Intake
This isn’t something you need to do every day for the rest of your life, but for now, it might be hard to determine how much water to drink and if you have even reached your goal for the day. Start by figuring out a good way to track your water. This can be an app on your phone, a notepad, a planner you keep in your purse, or a program on your computer.
Start by tracking your water for a few days before trying to increase how much you drink. This lets you know how much you are currently drinking on an average day. If it’s less than 8-10 glasses of water (8 ounces each) a day, you need to start increasing it. Once you are tracking daily, it helps you know how and when to drink a little more throughout the day.
Enjoy Fruits & Veggies with High Water Content
If you find that you simply can’t drink enough water, then eat your water instead! You should still try to drink as much as you can, but this is good for the days when you’re a little below your water intake goal. There are fruits and veggies that have a high water content, therefore helping to hydrate you. These include:
Dilute Your Juice When You Have it
I am not a juice lover, unless I am juicing to get rid of a cold, but, during those times when you really want a glass of juice instead of water, you can dilute it, so to increase your water intake a bit. Just think about it – if you have a 12-ounce glass, and you dilute it with water by just 25 percent, that cup of yummy, fruity juice has also added 4 ounces of water. It is a super easy way to up your water intake for the day. This is also going to reduce your calories, carbs, and sugar.
Try These Water Drinking Reminders
If you enjoy water, but you often forget to drink more of it, these little reminders can be helpful for you.
- Drink water before every meal, snack, and other beverage
- Drink a glass of water when you wake up
- Drink water before or after your workouts
- Drink a glass of water after every trip to the bathroom
- Drink a glass of water every time you enter your office or your home
As long as you keep these reminders in the back of your mind, and follow the other tips mentioned, you should be on your way to increasing your water intake and benefiting from it. And staying hydrated through the hot summer months!