Healthy hydration habits

Reviewed by Theresa H. Care Delivery Manager & Family Nurse Practitioner

Time saver 3 min read

Did you know that the human body is composed of roughly 60% water? It’s true! And, from breathing to bowel movements, nearly every bodily process depends on being well hydrated to properly function. But sometimes it can be hard to know how much water you need and if you’re truly drinking enough. Let’s take a deeper dive into the role water and hydration play in maintaining your health and well-being. We’ll also share ways to know if you’re drinking enough water and tips on how to boost your daily fluid intake.

Water: The fountain of life

Despite what your growling stomach may tell you, human beings can live a lot longer without food than water. That’s because virtually every cell in your body is built, nourished and fueled by water. In fact, proper hydration helps ensure your body is able to metabolize and use the food you eat for energy. Water lubricates your joints, and cushions and protects your brain and spinal cord. It’s also vital for regulating your temperature and flushing toxins and waste out of your body in sweat, urine and feces. Yep, when it comes to your physical health, water is essential. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you’re drinking lots of pure and clean water every day. But how much water do you really need to drink?

How’s your hydration?

When it comes to making sure you’re well hydrated, you’ve probably heard that you should aim to drink eight, eight oz. glasses (or 64 oz.) of water every day. While this amount is a good estimate, your hydration needs are unique to you and can be affected by several factors including your sex, weight, activity level, where you live and how you’re feeling on a given day.

And there are definitely times when your body craves more water or needs to replenish lost fluids.

When to increase your water intake

  • It’s hot outside
  • You’re physically active
  • You’re breastfeeding
  • You’re running a fever
  • You have a UTI or bladder infection
  • You have a respiratory virus
  • You vomit or have diarrhea

You can also look to your body for clues on when you need to step up your hydration game. For example, dark-colored urine is a sign that you need to up your H2O intake. Other signs that you need to drink more water include a slight headache, feeling lightheaded and being thirsty.

Hydration & illness

When a cold, COVID or other viral respiratory illness strikes, it’s especially important to increase your water intake. Why? Because water helps ease congestion in your sinuses, soothe a sore throat, loosen mucus in your chest and cool your body down when you have a fever.

In addition to drinking water when you’re under the weather – drinking beverages like smoothies, 100% fruit juices or non-caffeinated teas are good options. You can also boost hydration by sipping on broths and chicken noodle soup.

Tips to increase hydration

Ok, you know you probably need to drink more water. But old hydration habits are hard to break. Here are five ways to boost your daily water and fluid intake.

  1. Set a timer throughout the day to remind yourself to drink a glass of H2O.
  2. Soda fan? Swap a glass of water for 1 soda today.
  3. Jazz up your water with a slice of lemon, lime or cucumber.
  4. Sick of drinking just water? It’s ok to change it up once in a while. Healthy options include kombucha or fruit and veggie smoothies.
  5. Limit or avoid drinking sugary, caffeinated and alcoholic beverages as they harm and dehydrate your body

You don’t need to rely solely on beverages to meet your daily hydration goals. Many fruits and vegetables also contain high water contents.

Fruits Vegetables
Watermelon = 92% water Lettuce = 96% water
Strawberries = 92% water Cucumbers = 96% water
Grapefruit = 91% water Celery = 95% water
Cantaloupe = 90% water Bok choy = 95% water
Peaches = 90% water Radishes = 95% water
Raspberries = 87% Zucchini = 95%
Pineapple = 87% Watercress = 95%
Cranberries = 87% Tomatoes = 94%
Oranges = 87% Green bell peppers = 94%
Apricots = 86% Asparagus = 93%

Take care of your body so it can take care of you. Make a conscience effort to drink more water every day and listen to your body when it communicates that it needs an extra glass or two of H2O.

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