Why You Need It
Water keeps your body working the way it should. Your organs, muscles, and joints all need it. It also helps your immune system fight off germs, it's great for your skin, and it cools you down when you're hot. Drinking water can help you lose weight and lower your chances of kidney stones, too. If it's not part of your daily routine, you can do a few things to change that.
Eat Your Water
You can, and you probably do. Most people get about 20% of the water they need each day from food. It gets into your system more slowly that way and can come along with nutrients you need. Foods that have a lot of water include watermelon, cucumbers, zucchini, and tomatoes.
Have Some Soup
It's mostly water, and there's one for every taste. You can make broth from fish, chicken, beef bones, or vegetables. Add beans, greens, meats, grains, or veggies -- even pasta or eggs. If you're under the weather, try some homemade chicken soup: You'll get more H2O, and you might even shake your cold faster.
Add a Twist
A little squeeze of lemon can make plain old water a bit more interesting, and it's good for you, too. Lemons have antioxidants and potassium to help keep your cells healthy, and citric acid to help with digestion and prevent kidney stones.
Make It Sparkle
If you're looking for something with a little more zip, sparkling or fizzy water may do the trick. The bubbles can give your beverage a splash without adding sugar and other things that aren't good for you.
Indulge Your Salt Tooth
An afternoon snack of lightly salted walnuts or popcorn might be just the thing to make you reach for a glass of water. Both foods have protein and fiber, and popcorn is a whole grain and fat-free (as long as you don't load it down with butter). Walnuts also have things like omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E that are good for your heart, but don't overdo it -- they're high in calories.
Take a Coffee (or Tea) Break
Yes, they have caffeine, but they're also full of water. Don't sip on them all day, though, or you could get the jitters or even a bellyache. Two cups a day should be fine -- and your healthiest bet is to skip the sugar and cream.
Bring Your Water With You
It's a simple thing, but it can really make a difference -- if you have some nearby, you're more likely to drink it, especially if you're out and about. To keep your water cold, get a stainless steel bottle and add some ice or use freezer-safe bottles. Grab it on your way out in the morning and have ice water on the go.
Start a New Habit
Make it part of your routine to have a tall glass of water before you sit down for a meal. It's good for your body, and you're likely to eat less, too. In one study, people on a diet ate about 85 fewer calories per meal if they drank 16 ounces about a half-hour before each mealtime. Over 12 weeks, they lost 5 pounds -- about 50% more than those who didn't drink up before sitting down.
Get an App
If you need a reminder to drink up, there are plenty of apps for that. They can help you keep track of how much water you drink, and suggest how much you should have and when. If you don't want to download anything, set some friendly reminders on your smartphone.
Spice It Up
If you like foods with a kick, they can help put more fluids into your system. Have you ever tried to eat Indian food without a large glass or two of something cool to drink? To ease the burn, go with milk as your healthy beverage of choice.
When to Drink
Drink when you're thirsty -- that's your body's way of letting you know you need more water. But also pay attention when you go to the bathroom. If your pee is dark yellow, your body might be holding onto water, and that can be a sign that you need more. How much you need is different for everyone, depending on your health, how dry the air is where you live, and your daily activities.
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