Americans need to kick the can. The soda can, that is. According to WebMD, about one in five Americans drink at least one sugary beverage every day. That might not seem too bad, but each 12-ounce can contains nine to 12 teaspoons of sugar. Upgrade to a 20-ounce bottle, and it’s even worse. Skip the sweet stuff and focus your efforts on water instead.
While it might not pack the flavor of soft drinks, water is one of life’s building blocks and accounts for two-thirds of our body weight. Water, not juice or soda. The Washington Post explained sweetened beverages slow the body’s ability to absorb water and can actually increase the amount we need to quench our thirst.
Drinking enough water is important because it keeps the body functioning properly. John Batson, a sports medicine doctor, told The American Heart Association, “If you’re well hydrated, your heart doesn’t have to work as hard.”
That means blood can circulate more easily and keep you feeling great. And it’s not just important for athletes. Shape writes that even mild dehydration can negatively impact mood and energy levels. But if drinking water isn’t a part of your regular routine, we’ve got some great tips to help you out.
1. Add some flavor
For people who are used to swigging flavored beverages throughout the day, the switch to water can be a little bland. There are plenty of products on the market designed to make H2O exciting, but going for something natural is a better bet. Women’s Health suggested adding fruit slices and letting the mixture sit for a few hours to concentrate the flavor. Using fruit and herbs instead of artificial flavorings also means you’ll save a couple of bucks.
And don’t limit yourself to lemon. Everyday Health has some suggestions to get you guzzling more of the good stuff in no time. Once you run through these ideas, you’ll find the possibilities are endless. We love ginger with mint.
2. Invest in a swanky water bottle
One of the simplest ways to get water throughout the day is to carry it with you. If it’s sitting on your desk or in your car, it’s a lot more likely you’ll take at least a few sips. Fortunately, those giant screw-top plastic bottles aren’t the only options for carrying your drink with you anymore. Self offered some great options to pick out a model you’re sure to love.
While you might be tempted to stock up on prepacked water bottles, it’s not the best way to go. The Daily Meal reported much of it’s just tap water anyways, and all that plastic is bad for the environment. Besides, it’s a total waste of money.
3. Always stop at the drinking fountain
If you know you’re lagging in the hydration department, make water fountain stops a part of your daily routine. Nearly every office has one, and there are plenty of outdoor options as well. Runner’s World mentioned there are a vast number of spots to snag a quick drink on Chicago’s path along Lake Michigan.
If you’re ever worried about finding a place to quench your thirst, your phone has you covered. Just use an app to find the nearest fountain. And since many drinking fountains now come with refill stations, you can top off that swanky water bottle to boot.
4. Have tea time
If plain water just doesn’t do it for you, a little bit of tea or coffee are both good options. Though some people worry that the caffeine could have a dehydrating effect, Women’s Health explained it’s unlikely unless you’re chugging more than five mugs a day. Just be sure that you’re going for plain coffee or tea, not drinks loaded with fillers and sugar.
And these beverages offer some other benefits of their own. According to Health, sipping on tea could lower your risk of cancer, reduce blood pressure, and decrease stress. Java lovers can rejoice, too. Eating Well reported consuming coffee can reduce the chance of developing dementia and lower the risk of heart disease. So there’s no need to skip that morning brew.
5. Eat water-packed foods
While sipping from a glass or water bottle is the best way to ensure you’re tanking up, it’s not the only option. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explained it’s possible to get some of the vital fluid from foods like tomatoes, broth, and melon. Health offers a list of some of the best fruits and veggies to keep you hydrated, including some unexpected contenders like cauliflower. Go ahead and eat your water.
6. Set an alarm
When all else fails, put your phone’s alarm settings to use. It’ll remind you to sip some water, but it could also help keep you from mindlessly snacking. Livestrong explained that being dehydrated can actually fool your body into thinking it’s hungry.
Using a few daily reminders will certainly do the trick, but some people might want to take it a step further. A number of bottle and app combinations that monitor your intake and remind you to drink up are being developed. That might be overkill, though. A few simple pings and buzzes might be just the thing to help you on the path to drinking more water.