Pretty much every system of your body depends on water to function properly. Are you drinking enough to replenish your stores?
How much is enough?
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, but the familiar eight eight-ounce glasses of water per day is a good place to start. If you’re a bigger person, drink more; smaller people can drink less. Nearly all body processes need water: kidney function, joint and tissue protection, temperature regulation, digestion, oxygen delivery, and more. When you listen to your body, it will let you know how much is right for you.
Signs of dehydration
Dehydration’s effects are more obvious after a bout of the flu or attending a hot yoga class after a night full of champagne and wine. Yet even mild dehydration causes symptoms.
- Headaches. If yours improve immediately when you take an aspirin, it may be the water that helped. Drinking more proactively can keep the pain away.
- Bad breath and dry mouth mean inadequate saliva, which is replenished by water.
- Brain fog. That late afternoon slump may benefit more from a cool glass of water than from a cup of coffee.
- Food cravings that won’t quit. People frequently mistake thirst for hunger because the bodily signals are quite similar.
- Constipation. Dehydration is the most common cause. Before you reach for the fiber supplement, up your water intake.
- Dull complexion. When your skin doesn’t get the moisture it needs internally, lines, pores, and flakiness are more pronounced. Hydration can even improve your hair and nails.
How to get more
Knowing how much water you drink is the first step to hydration. As outdoor temperatures and your activity levels increase, your water consumption should, too. Try these tricks.
- Make a habit. New habits stick better when put next to existing habits. Have your first glass of water when you wake up while waiting for the coffee to brew. Find other habits you can easily pair with drinking water.
- Add a flavor. No need for artificial powders; lemons, limes, cucumbers, and strawberries are just some of the natural flavor boosters you can infuse into your water.
- Choose H2O. Whenever possible, choose water. It will always be your healthiest choice.
- Track it. If you have a fitness tracker, you probably already have a water intake reading. If not, apps abound!
- Get fancy. For high tech water bottles designed to get you drinking more, click here.