With warmer weather on its way, take this opportunity to make sure you’re staying properly hydrated. Chances are you aren’t drinking enough water daily.
While there is not a specific recommendation for the amount of water people should drink, the National Academy of Medicine's Food and Nutrition Board recommends that women should have approximately 2.7 liters, or 91 ounces, of total water from all beverages and foods each day, and men should have an average of approximately 3.7 liters, or 125 ounces daily, of total water from all food sources.
While those estimates account for water and other fluids, it’s always better to choose water over sugary juices and drinks, because water refreshes and reinvigorates in ways that no other liquid can.
Why the push to drink so much water?
“Water impacts your body’s health as a whole in many different ways,” said registered nurse and certified health coach Val Velte of Novant Health Rowan Medical Center. “It regulates our body temperature, carries nutrients, lubricates our joints and protects our organs. If you aren’t drinking enough, it’s harder for your body to carry out these tasks.”
Velte noted that getting the recommended amount of water helps prevent against various conditions and diseases.
Water and weight
Drinking enough water can also promote overall health, including weight management.
“Sometimes thirst can be mistaken as hunger,” Velte said. “This can lead to possible weight gain when excess calories are consumed due to what your body perceives as hunger. If you’re drinking enough water, your body won’t have to determine if you’re hungry or if you’re actually just thirsty.”
Velte said drinking water with meals could also promote an earlier feeling of fullness. If you drink a glass of water before you start your meal, you will be more likely to stick to the recommended portions.
Choosing water over soda and other sweetened beverages can also cut your calories for the day.
“Dehydration, or not consuming enough water, can negatively affect your health,” Velte said. “It can impair our ability to achieve optimal health, even including the health of our skin. Dehydration could result in skin that is dry and more prone to wrinkling.”
Velte added dehydration can also cause us to lose energy and prevent our bodies from working at their best to fight ailments.
Tips to drink more water
If you find yourself struggling to reach for more water, here are some easy tips.
- Add your own flavor with fruit slices. “The fruit slices are a natural way to add flavor to your water without adding unnecessary sugar,” Velte said. “Artificial fruit flavoring isn’t nearly as healthy as the real thing.”
- Keep it nearby at your desk or while riding in your car. “If water is in front of you all day, you will be more likely to drink it,” Velte said.
- Think of your wallet – it’s cheaper and better for you to order water at restaurants. “ You could save a lot of money by having a glass of water instead of soda,” Velte said. “Your wallet and your body will thank you for doing that."