Top Tips to Drink More Water

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    Our top tips to drink more water for healthy aging and gut health. Learn how to tell if you are drinking enough!

    If you came here because you need help drinking more water, welcome!

    When it comes to your health, you might think you are doing everything right. You eat well, get plenty of sleep, exercise regularly, and you’ve even been known to do some meditation or yoga. You feel like your health is dialed in. Except when it comes to drinking water.

    You know that you should be drinking more water, or at least that’s what you’ve been told. And you want to figure out how much you need to be drinking and how to reach your goals.

    Read on for our top tips to drink more water!

    How much water do you need daily?

    Did you know that your body is about 70% water? Then it’s no wonder that the amount of water in your body is tightly controlled. Even if you don’t realize it, your body is constantly making adjustments to your fluid balance. Pretty cool, huh?

    Since water is so essential to the normal functions of the body, it’s important to drink enough each day. But how much do you actually need? While many people have heard the standard “drink eight cups of water per day,” it’s not that simple.

    Body weight is one factor to take into account when trying to figure out your water needs. One rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in fluid ounces each day. So a 200 pound person would drink 100 fluid ounces of water. That’s about 12 cups per day. You’ll see that this is more than the general recommendation of eight cups per day.

    The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends 11.5-15.5 cups of water per day.

    You can use both recommendations as a starting point. If the lower end is far below your current water intake, start there.

    Your water needs can be higher if you live in a hot climate, are more physically active, or have certain conditions that cause loss of water.

    One last thing to consider is that it is possible to drink too much water, so slowly increase your water intake to a level that is right for you. If you need help, consult your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian for help.

    Why should you drink more water?

    Drinking enough water every day is important for the normal functions of the body.

    Water helps your body regulate temperature, support your joints, and helps with removal of wastes from the body.

    Research suggests that staying hydrated is associated with signs of healthy aging. This includes proper functioning of many body systems including the cardiovascular, respiratory, metabolic, renal, and immune systems.

    Water may also support gut health. The digestive system needs water to help move food from “end to end.” Drinking water, and specifically lemon water, was found to support the movement of the intestines. Here are some other tips to help support your gut health!

    If you do not drink enough water, you can become dehydrated. Research suggests that dehydration may negatively impact the immune system.

    How to tell if you're drinking enough water

    It can be easy to become dehydrated if you are not keeping up with your fluid intake. This is because the symptoms of dehydration do not start until you are already dehydrated.

    Symptoms of dehydration in adults can include:

    • Confusion
    • Dizziness
    • Extreme thirst
    • Fatigue
    • Reduced urination

    Infants and young children may also have dry mouth and tongue and can become irritable when dehydrated. Children and older adults need special attention to be paid to their fluid intake because it may be harder for them to sense their own need for water.

    Dark-colored urine is another sign of dehydration. When you're healthy and hydrated, your urine should fall somewhere between colorless and the color of light straw and honey. When you don't consume enough fluids, your urine becomes more concentrated and turns a darker yellow or amber color.

    Monitoring the color of your urine can help you figure out if you’re drinking enough.

    Tips to drink more water

    Between the general recommendations for water intake that we discussed above, and using urine color as a guide, you should now have an idea of your need for water.

    Let’s review some top drinks to drink more water.

    Set a daily goal with reminders

    Goal setting is a well-studied technique to help people make behavior changes.

    When setting goals, it’s helpful to choose SMART goals. This stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound.

    Instead of just saying “I want to drink more water”, your SMART goal could be: “I want to increase my water intake from 6 cups per day to 8 cups per day over the next 4 weeks.”

    Since you defined the goal as increasing water intake to 8 cups of water per day, the goal is specific and measurable. It’s attainable because you gave yourself a modest increase of just two additional cups per day. Since you are giving yourself 4 weeks to reach the goal, it’s a time-bound goal and is more realistic than if you were to try to reach your goal in one week.

    You can set reminders to help you reach your goals by giving you a cue to drink water. There are also apps that can help you hit your water goals. Just remember to keep your water bottle nearby so you’re ready when the reminder dings!

    Drink a glass of water each hour

    If you find yourself getting to the end of the day without drinking much water, you can break your goal into smaller pieces throughout the day. Break your daily fluid goals down into hourly amounts and then set a reminder to drink each hour.

    Get other people in your office or home in on the fun so you can keep each other accountable!

    Replace other drinks with water

    You may be trying to drink more water and less of other beverages, especially sugary drinks. If you are trying to cut down on sugary drinks like soda or caffeinated drinks like coffee, start replacing these with water to help you reach your goals while also staying hydrated.

    Drink a glass of water as soon as you wake up

    Sleeping naturally results in water loss and you can often wake up dehydrated, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Drinking water when you wake up helps to replenish lost fluid.

    Drink a glass of water before every meal

    Sometimes you might think you’re hungry, when you are actually thirsty. Try drinking water before you eat to make sure you’re meeting your needs.

    Eat water rich foods

    Fruits and vegetables can help contribute to your water intake:

    • Celery
    • Bell peppers
    • Broccoli
    • Melons such as watermelon, honeydew and cantaloupe
    • Orange
    • Pineapple
    • Peaches
    • Strawberries

    Drink water after you use the bathroom

    Replace the fluid you lose from urinating by drinking water after each time you go to the bathroom. It can be a cue to remind you to drink and can help you stay hydrated.

    Flavor your water

    Don’t like the taste of water? Try adding flavor without adding sugar. You can use a squeeze of lemon or lime or get fancy with different types of infused waters!

    You can also purchase plain flavored waters.

    Drink sparkling water or seltzer

    Sparkling water and seltzer are another way to add some excitement to your water. There are plain options or beverages that add flavor without added sugar.

    Drink herbal teas

    Caffeine-free teas are another source of fluids that people sometimes forget to count toward their daily intake. Try chamomile, rooibos, hibiscus or mint teas.

    Final takeaways

    Proper hydration is an often-overlooked part of a healthy lifestyle. You may be doing all of the things when it comes to your health, but don’t forget about your water intake. Once you set your daily water goal, our tips to drink more water can help you stay on track!

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    Dr. Carla Montrond Correia ND, CNS
    Medical Content Manager
    Dr. Montrond-Correia is a licensed naturopathic physician and a certified nutrition specialist (CNS). She holds degrees from University of Bridgeport, Georgetown University, and University of Saint Joseph, and supplemented her education with internships in the health and wellness space. She's focused on research, herbal medicine, nutrigenomics, and integrative and functional medicine. She makes time for exercise, artistic activities, and enjoying delicious food.
    Our Editorial Staff
    Freelance Contributor
    The Care/of Editorial Team is made up of writers, experts, and health enthusiasts, all dedicated to giving you the information you need today. Our team is here to answer your biggest wellness questions, read the studies for you, and introduce you to your new favorite product, staying up to date on the latest research, trends, and science. Each article is written by one of our experts, reviewed both for editorial standards by an editor and medical standards by one of our naturopathic doctors, and updated regularly as new information becomes available.