The summer months are upon us! But before you make plans to indulge in the season’s most enjoyable outdoor pleasures (e.g., tanning poolside, hiking, biking, surfing the ocean waves), make sure your body’s prepared to withstand the sweltering heat: slather on that sunscreen, throw on those shades, and drink a *lot* of water!
On average, our bodies are composed of up to 60 percent water. For this reason, drinking adequate amounts of water is vital because it helps replenish the body’s fluids, thus promoting countless bodily functions (aiding digestion and blood circulation, transporting nutrients throughout the body, regulating body temps and your metabolism—the list goes on).
Since we tend to be more active in the summer, it’s important that we be mindful of our water intake during this time. After all, dehydration can lead to numerous ailments like headaches, constipation, fever, dry skin, dark under-eye circles, and…wrinkles—gasp!
While there’s varying opinions as to how much water you should drink each day, experts recommend consuming at least 64 ounces. Unfortunately, I’ve never been a huge water drinker—but, as of late, I’ve been on a health kick and have made it a point to consume more H20. If you’re not big on drinking plain water, or just want to stay hydrated this summer—here are five tried-and-true ways I’ve found help me drink more water.
1. Eat water-rich foods
Along with drinking your water, try eating it! The vast majority of fruits and vegetables are incredibly water dense—plus, they’re packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients! One of my favorite summer meals is a crisp, refreshing salad because it incorporates several water-rich foods and can be customized in a kajillion different ways, so you won’t get tired of eating it everyday. Here’s a breakdown of my go-to salad ingredients’ water content:
Lettuce: 96% water; Cucumber: 95% water; Tomato: 94% water; Cabbage: 92% water; Bell Peppers: 92% water; Spinach: 91% water; Kale: 84% water
Heavy meals always make me feel bloated and lazy. Salads, on the other hand, have the complete opposite effect (I always feel energized/revitalized!), plus I don’t feel guilty after eating them. Try this delicious Zesty Watermelon Salad. In addition to cucumber and tomatoes, it contains watermelon, which has a 91% water content.
2. Avoid dehydrating foods and drinks
Nowadays, I seldom drink (seriously, the last time was New Year’s Eve!), which is a good thing this time of year because alcohol is a natural diuretic and rids the body of water, causing dehydration. Alcohol isn’t the only culprit, though. Caffeinated beverages like coffee, salty foods, and fried foods can all cause dehydration when consumed in excess.
Now, that’s not to say you can’t imbibe or pig out on a bag of chips—just make sure you have a glass of water handy. Although, if you’re planning a summer cookout or pool party, you can always serve mocktails like this refreshing Vegan Cucumber Mule in lieu of alcoholic beverages.
3. Infuse your water
If you’re anything like me—drinking plain, flavorless water isn’t exactly the go-to drink of choice if there are other tasty beverages (like sweet iced tea) on hand. Unfortunately, the tasty beverages I find myself drawn to contain a *lot* of sugar and don’t necessarily provide the same benefits of drinking water.
If you’re looking for ways to spruce up your bland cup of water sans added sugars and calories—try infusing it with fresh fruits like citrus and berries, vegetables, and herbs! I definitely tend to drink more fruit-infused water than plain water because of the delicious, refreshing taste. Plus, I love that infused water is easy to make! Here are a few recipes to get you started.
4. Invest in a filter
I am blessed and grateful to live in a place where clean water is readily available; however, I still get a tad squeamish when I see people drinking straight from the tap. After all, tap water must travel through miles of pipeline before reaching your faucet and can become contaminated along the way.
To ensure my water is squeaky clean, I use a water filter pitcher—which I fill up and throw in the fridge, so the water is nice and cool. An added bonus of filtering your water? It tastes better. You can also invest in a faucet filtration system, or if you’re on the go, a self-cleaning water bottle.
5. Keep tabs on your water intake
I recently started monitoring my water intake. Previously, I *thought* I was drinking enough H20; however, the reality was I wasn’t anywhere near the recommended amount! Keeping track of how much water I drink throughout the day has really made a difference in how much I consume—in fact, it’s probably one of my biggest motivators to drink more water.
A terrific way to monitor your water intake is to drink out of a marked water container. I’m a fan of Ball Mason Jars because they have line measurements etched on the side. You can also download free water tracking apps like Drink Water Reminder, or simply set a reminder on your phone to drink a cup of water at the top of every hour.
How are you staying hydrated this summer?