No doubt you’ve heard that you should drink eight glasses of water each day. Water after all is essential for almost every vital bodily function. But you don’t need to tally glasses or cart bottles everywhere you go to stay well-hydrated. In fact, everyone’s water needs are different, and drinking it isn’t the only way to get your fill. That fruit bowl you picked up at your Mindful café, for example, gave you a good dose of H2O. So how much—and how often—should you be drinking? Here’s a quick refresher on satisfying your thirst.
Pick up on your body’s cues. The best way to know if you’re getting enough is simply to listen to your body. If you’re thirsty, you probably need some hydration. Women need about 2.7 litres a day, compared to about 3.7 for men, but those are just general guidelines. If you’re more active or live in a hot climate, you may need more water than someone who lives somewhere cooler or who doesn’t exercise as much.
Think outside the glass. When it comes to getting all of this water, it doesn’t have to come from just the tap. You can also use water-rich foods to help meet your needs. Fruits and vegetables are packed with H2O—especially melons, grapefruit, berries, tomatoes, peas, and zucchini. Even the water in coffee and other beverages counts. Just be careful that your drinks aren’t also adding in lots of extra calories.
Give it some flair. Perhaps you’re one of many who simply doesn’t like water. We get it; it’s tasteless and kind of boring. Of course, you shouldn’t forgo it altogether. With some creative forethought, you can work some kitchen magic to make water more palatable. Try the spa approach and spruce it up with herbs such as mint or basil. Or add in fruit. But don’t just drop in a wedge of lemon or lime (been there, done that); a few cubes of cut-up watermelon, strawberries, or mango can add a burst of flavor to your cup.
Need Another Reason to Drink Up?
Water’s benefits go beyond essential bodily functions. Consider these other perks of staying well-hydrated.
It promotes healthy-looking skin. Dry skin is more prone to wrinkling, making water an important tool in the fight against signs that give away our age.
It puts cravings in their place. Our bodies often mistake thirst for hunger, sending out cues to reach for chips and other not-so-good goodies. But by staying hydrated you may save yourself calories your body isn’t actually craving. A good rule of thumb: If you ate within three hours and feel hungry, try drinking water and waiting 20 minutes to see if you’re still hungry.