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It’s a phrase you likely hear often: drink more water. Adequate hydration is vital for body processes such as weight maintenance, digestion and detoxification. How much water do you really need and what role does your environment and exercise routine play?
Cooper Clinic’s Nutrition Services team dives into the factors that impact our water needs and discuss ways to increase hydration throughout the day.
How Much Water Do I Need?
The amount of water an individual needs can vary. Research shows adults should consume half their body weight in ounces. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, your recommended water intake is approximately 100 ounces per day (or 12.5 cups).
Approximately 80 percent of an individual’s total water comes from drinking water and beverages. The other 20 percent is derived from food.
Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables can help your body maintain proper hydration, as they contain high water content. Many people assume iced tea and coffee actually dehydrate the body as they act as a diuretic. While this is true, the diuretic response of tea and coffee does not outweigh the hydrating properties of these fluids.
Factors That Increase Hydration Needs
Beyond your body’s daily need for water, certain factors or situations can leave you thirsty for more.
- Climate. Those who live in hot and humid climates, as well as higher altitudes, require more water intake due to excessive sweating.
- Physical activity. As you lose fluids via sweat during exercise and physical activity, it’s important to replace those fluids. It is recommended you consume six to eight ounces of water before exercising and four to six ounces every 20 minutes during exercise.
- Illness. When you are sick, your body is often working overtime. Whether you have a stomach bug and are losing fluids or have a cold with congestion, increasing your fluid intake can help replace the fluids lost and help break up any congestion you may have.
Ways to Drink More
Drinking more water is sometimes easier said than done. Below are tips to help you increase your water intake throughout the day.
- Keep a water bottle with you at all times. From the moment you wake up in the morning until the moment you lie down at night, make sure you always have a water bottle handy. Make it a goal to refill your bottle three to four times throughout the day or however many times you need to refill to reach your daily goal.
- Set an alarm on your phone. This alarm should go off every two to three hours, reminding you to take a drink.
- Choose a “smart” water bottle. Several innovative products exist that can remind you to stay hydrated. One called Hidrate Spark connects with an app on your phone, which tracks how much you’ve had to drink that day. The water bottle will also glow when it is time to take a drink.
What to Do When Water “Gets Boring”
While a refreshing glass of ice water is always recommended, sometimes it can dull in comparison to other options. Here are a handful of ways to jazz up your hydration ritual and keep it interesting.
- Infuse your water. Try adding fresh fruit to your water for a burst of flavor. Classic lemon, lime or orange are always delicious. Strawberries or blueberries will give your water a sweeter flavor. Feeling adventurous? Try combinations such as cucumber and mint, watermelon and basil or strawberry and kiwi.
- Some like it hot. If you prefer something warm, try hot water with lemon or caffeine-free herbal tea. Herbal tea can be served hot or cold and is a great way to add flavor throughout the day.
- Add some bubbles. Sparkling water or carbonated water has become popular and that’s a great thing! Sparkling water adds to your hydration count and can be a refreshing, fizzy kick to your summer.
To schedule a one-on-one consultation with a registered dietitian nutritionist or for more information on Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services, visit cooperclinicnutrition.com or call 972.560.2655.
Article provided by Courtney Moore, RDN, LD, and Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services.