Updated: Jan 4, 2019
We know you've heard it: the key to health is to drink more water. Is this true? To some degree, yes it is. In fact, drinking water is associated with lower rates of developing chronic diseases such as arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, kidney stones, and even migraine headaches. It can also reduce your risk of developing diabetes or heart disease. How can this be?
We are composed of about 60% water. It's a necessary "ingredient" for both organ and cell functions. Without the proper hydration our body functions can slow down. Just as a recipe needs all of its ingredients to turn out good and tasty, our bodies need proper amounts of H20 to complete its necessary tasks to keep our bodies working well.
In addition, the more water we drink, the less likely we are to reach for the sugar-sweetened and caffeinated beverages. Research suggests that plain water is the drink of choice. Beverages with sugar increase caloric intake and inevitably increase body weight and fat percentage. Caffeinated beverages in excess can dehydrate the body and interrupt proper sleep routine. Limiting caffeine to 1-2 servings per day is optimal. Many times when we are feeling fatigued, we're actually underhydrated. Again, when we aren't reaching proper hydration, our bodies can slow down thus making us feel fatigued. Instead of reaching for that third cup of coffee, drink water!
The best advice to get your proper hydration needs is to start your day off with 16 oz of water before eating or drinking anything.
How Much Water Is Enough?
You'll first need to know how much you weigh. You will need 1/2 ounce of water a day for every pound you weigh.
150 pounds x 1/2 ounce = 75 ounces per day
There is 8 ounces in 1 cup. 75/8 = about 9.5 cups per day.
*Note: some medical diagnoses and medications need fluid restrictions, talk to your doctor about your individual fluid needs if this is a concern.
Check out these tools to keep yourself hydrated:
1. There's an app for that!
Good hydration reminder apps on your phone to try include Daily Water Tracker Reminder, My Water, iHydrate, Water Reminder - Drink Water, or Waterlogged.
2. Use a "Smart" water bottle
HidrateSpark is a water bottle that keeps track of your water intake and reminds you to drink accordingly. Take a look here: https://hidratespark.com/
3. Start with 16 ounces before breakfast or coffee, then drink 8-16 ounces every hour after
Again, we tend to be underhydrated when we wake up. Give yourself the hydration you need to get your day started. Then, rule of thumb, drink every hour and aim for at least 8 ounces every hour. Put a sticky note on your mirror or coffee maker to "drink your 16 ounces to start your day!"
Are you struggling with cutting out soda or caffeine? Or do you feel overly fatigued and know you don't drink enough water? Meet with a Registered Dietitian today!