Quenching Your Thirst

Water is essential for many bodily functions — it aids digestion, carries nutrients to your cells, regulates temperature, lubricates joints, and helps keep your organs (especially your kidneys) functioning properly. Even mild dehydration can leave you feeling sluggish, light-headed, and less focused. Thirst can also be mistaken for hunger, so it’s important to listen to your internal cues and hydrate when you are feeling thirsty.

Most people have heard the rule to drink eight glasses of water, or 64 ounces per day. This recommendation is easy to remember but isn’t a hard-and-fast rule. The amount of water that your body needs can vary depending on your age, level of activity, overall health, the environment you live in, and many other factors. It is recommended that men consume 15-1/2 cups and women 11-1/2 cups of water per day from both foods and beverages. It is estimated that most people get about 80 percent of their fluids from beverages and 20 percent from food. You’ll likely need even more on days when you exercise or spend time in the heat.

The key to staying hydrated is to drink beverages and eat foods that are naturally filled with water (think fresh fruits and vegetables). While caffeinated drinks such as coffee and tea count toward your fluid intake (it’s a myth that they are actually dehydrating!), too much caffeine can lead to headaches, insomnia, and overall feelings of jitteriness, so they shouldn’t be your primary source of fluid.

Don’t fret – plain water isn’t the only beverage (or food) that can keep you hydrated. Here are some fun and creative ways to help you meet your fluid needs.

  1. Make your own spa water. Get creative, mixing fruit, vegetables, and herbs into plain or sparkling water.
  2. Spike your seltzer water with a splash of juice, fresh fruit, or crushed mint or give a mocktail a try.
  3. Sip on herbal iced tea. Make your own by brewing a batch of tea, chilling, and adding a squeeze of lemon or other citrus or fruit for a hint of sweetness.
  4. Enjoy a bowl of chilled soup. Try this cucumber-avocado soup for thirst-quenching lunch that proves soup can be enjoyed at any time of year.
  5. Make your own fruit popsicles. Puree your favorite fruit(s) with a hint of citrus, salt and sweetener; then freeze.
  6. Swap your morning bowl of cereal for a smoothie bowl.
  7. Chow down on fresh fruits and vegetables, which are primarily made of water.
  8. Try one of the trendy sparkling waters — there is an abundance of flavors out there, so take your pick!

Read more about whether your food or drink is (de)hydrating here.