There is nothing more refreshing than a tall glass of cold water to quench your thirst. During the hotter months, it may be easier to remember the need to drink enough fluids to prevent dehydration. While staying hydrated in the summer is important, hydration is vital to your health all year round. Read on to learn five ways to stay on top of your hydration.
Why Fluids Matter
Fluids are essential for our overall health. Water has many important roles, including:
- Moves nutrients and waste through the body
- Ensures that your blood pressure is normal
- Protects and cushions your joints and organs
- Controls your body temperature
- Reduces your risk of dehydration and heat stroke
How to Know if You're Drinking Enough Water
Not sure if you're dehydrated? Some of the most prevalent warning signs of dehydration can include:
- Bad breath
- Decreased amount of urine
- Dry mouth and swollen tongue
- Sluggishness and fatigue
- Sugar cravings
You should contact your doctor if you experience any of these more severe dehydration symptoms:
- Heart palpitations
Getting Enough Fluid
You need different amounts of fluid depending on your age, gender, and level of physical activity. You will need even more fluids when exercising and in hot weather. Here are the top five tips for keeping hydrated year-round:
1. Don't Wait Until You're Thirsty
It can be incredibly satisfying to quench thirst, but feeling thirsty indicates that you are already dehydrated. Stay hydrated throughout the day by sipping something regularly. You can also drink a glass of water before and between meals and aim to include foods with high water content in your diet, like fruits and vegetables, whenever possible.
2. Try a Flavored Water Enhancer
Does the taste of plain water turn you off? Try infusing your water with a flavored water enhancer such as MiO. Infusing your water is a great way to up your water intake and stay hydrated. You may be wondering, is mio bad for you? There's mixed research on whether they're bad for your health due to some of their controversial ingredients, but a few servings of a water enhancer (used as directed on the label) are not likely to expose you to enough of these ingredients to cause harm. While a water enhancer like MiO may not be the most natural way to increase fluid intake, it can help some people increase fluid intake and prevent dehydration.
3. Carry a Reusable Water Bottle
Consider investing in a reusable water bottle if you have difficulty finding water throughout the day. For instance, you may not want to spend money on plastic bottles or have trouble refilling an eight-ounce cup. Having a bottle that you love and can reuse will make hydrating easier and more enjoyable. Water bottles with filters are also available, so you can stay hydrated by refilling them wherever you are.
4. Download a Hydration App
Using a hydration app to monitor your water intake can greatly help track how much water you drink daily. Many free apps are available that help you keep hydrated by setting goals about how much water you should drink. Free apps can remind you to drink and can help you maintain or increase your water intake daily. In addition, many water tracker apps let you compare how much water you drank on previous days, weeks, and months.
5. Pay Attention to Your Urine
You may be dehydrated if your urine appears darker than usual. Having pale yellow or clear urine is perfectly normal, and it indicates that you are well hydrated. Because dehydration occurs when the body's water volume decreases, the lighter the color, the better hydrated you are. Our kidneys instruct the body to retain water when we are dehydrated. This results in our urine containing less water. As a result, it becomes darker and more concentrated. Next time you notice a darker color in your urine, make sure you stay hydrated by drinking some water.
The Bottom Line
Many people underestimate how important it is to stay hydrated. Hydration helps your body regulate temperature, digest food, optimize brain function, and keep your skin and joints healthy. Water is essential for your body, so drink plenty of it every day. You have many drink choices out there, such as sports drinks and flavored water enhancers like MiO, but at the end of the day, water is the first-choice beverage for the best hydration. The right amount of water to drink depends on your health and activity level. Keep your body functioning properly by following these tips to stay hydrated.