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5 easy tips for drinking more water
We have all heard it said that we should drink more water for optimum health and to control our weight, but how much is necessary, why do we need it and how can we increase our water intake?
How much water per day?
The amount of water needed varies from person to person, as each individual has different fluid loss per day and there are also variations with climate and physical activity levels.
For a healthy adult in a temperate climate, The Institute of Medicine have suggested that an adequate intake of fluid is around 3 litres for men and 2.2 litres for women per day.
It is important to remember that all fluid consumed contribute to this, so you are unlikely to need this much from water alone when water on foods and other drinks are included. An extra 400 to 600 ml of water should be consumed for a short period of exercise, but much more may be required if the exercise lasts for a long period of time.
If you are well hydrated you should produce around 1.5 litres of light coloured urine per day and rarely feel thirsty.
Why we need water
Our bodies are primarily made up of water, with 60% of our body weight contributed by this fluid. Water is essential for all the systems in our body to function correctly and to perform such functions as flushing toxins from organs, carrying nutrients to cells, and maintaining moist environments where needed.
Dehydration can be dangerous and cause failure of the bodies’ vital systems in severe cases, but even mild dehydration can make you lethargic and lacking in energy. Water is the best tool for hydration as it is free of calories and therefore will not cause weight gain, cheap or even free and easy accessible
5 Ways to increase your water intake
1. Add flavour
While water is the best option to hydrate your body, it definitely doesn’t have a lot of flavour. In fact, some people really dislike the taste of water, which means they don’t usually drink enough. If you are one of these people, or you simply get bored of water after a while, try adding flavors to mix it up a bit.
The great thing about water is that it contains no calories, so we can drink as much as we like without fear of weight gain. For this reason, when adding flavors, it is important not to add too many calories. A squeeze of lemon or lime can add taste without energy, or alternatively try a low calorie cordial in the flavour of your choice. Drinking herbal teas can also increase water intake and add some taste, but be aware that coffee or tea containing caffeine may work as a diuretic which lessens their effect on hydration levels.
2. Establish a routine
If you don’t drink enough water in your day, finding a routine that you stick to can help you to increase your intake. Once established, a water routine will help you remember to drink and prevent you from waiting until you are feeling thirsty to down your water.
Try drinking a glass of water immediately when you get up in the morning, as well as one before each meal and snack and you will ensure you have a good fluid intake and will probably meet requirements when other fluids are taken into account throughout the day.
3. Keep it accessible
If water is there in front of you and easy to access without effort, you are more likely to drink it. Try keeping a jug or bottle of water on your desk at work and aim to finish at least one of these daily. It is also beneficial to carry water with you in a bottle wherever you go to prevent thirst leading you to buy unhealthy sodas or calorie laden drinks.
Another good way to up your intake is to always have a water jug and glasses on the table during a meal as this will encourage you and other diners to drink this whilst eating.
Water should always be taken to the gym with you and should be easily accessible during any exercise or sport as this is a time when your body needs extra fluids to replace those lost in sweating.
4. Sneaky water
Increasing your water intake does not mean you have to constantly drink large glasses of water all the time (although some will certainly be needed). By eating food with a high water content or diluting drinks with extra water you can also increase your intake in a less obvious way. Fruit and vegetables are high in water, so make good options for better hydration.
Diluting soft drinks, juices, sport drinks, teas and coffees with extra water not only lowers the calorie count but also adds extra water into your day. The taste will be weaker at first, but in time you will get used to the new flavor.
5. Drink before eating
We often misinterpret thirst for hunger and reach for food instead of water. By drinking a glass of water before each meal or snack and waiting five minutes you may feel that you no longer need the food, which makes drinking water an excellent weight management tool.
Drinking water throughout a meal can also fill you up and cause you to eat less, again helping with calorie control and improving hydration. See also: Does water make you lose weight?
References used in this article