Staying hydrated helps your body control temperature, remove waste, protect body tissues and lubricate joints. Recommended total daily water intake varies by age, lifestyle, health and gender.
Total water intake comes from drinking water, other beverages, and food. Milk, juice, cucumbers, tomatoes, watermelon and grapes all have high amounts of water. Foods with a high water content can also be filling.
Women should aim to consume about 11 cups of water per day through eating and drinking. Men should take in about 15 cups of water per day through eating and drinking as well. Be careful when choosing soft-drinks, caffeinated drinks and sports drinks. Caffeine and high blood sugar can also lead to more trips to the bathroom. Peeing more often can cause dehydration over time. Drinking enough water should be a normal part of your day.
You lose water through sweat when you exercise. Exercise outside when the day is coolest during the summer. You should drink more water when you increase your level of activity. Always be aware of how weather conditions impact you. Water loss through sweat can still occur when it’s a cloudy and breezy day or a hot summer night.
Your skin may feel dry, itchy, swollen, irritable or sensitive when you are dehydrated. You may also start to get a headache, upset stomach, dizzy or fatigued. In worst cases, you may have muscle cramps, experience fast breathing or pass out. A good way to know how hydrated you are is to keep an eye on your pee. You will not urinate as much as normal and your urine will also be a darker color when dehydrated.
Water with a twist
Infused water is made when veggies, fruit or herbs sit in water for several hours. Infusions create a subtle flavor twist that can help you to drink more water. Lemon, lime, watermelon, cucumber, mint and rosemary are common ingredients. During renaissance times, infused water was often made with flowers like roses. Consider using frozen items. You can also freeze ingredients in ice cube trays to save prep time and reduce food waste.
Infused water can be a refreshing swap for sugary drinks like soda and juice. Recipes made at home will most likely have no calories or carbs. Read labels on store bought options. They often add sweeteners and preservatives.
There are many recipes to make infused water. Below are the basic steps to help you get started.
- Select your ingredients (fresh or frozen)
- Wash your hands
- Prep food using clean tools
- Wash all items
- Peel and cut items as needed
- Put prepped items into a clean glass or BPA-free plastic container that can seal tightly
- Add desired amount of drinking water to container
- Shake or crush items for added texture and flavor
- Store in the fridge for 2-3 hours or until desired flavor is reached
- Keep the infusion at or below 41° F to prevent the growth of bad bacteria.
- Toss infusions that sit at room temperature for more than 4 hours.
- Keep in the fridge up to six days in a clean, tightly sealed container.
- Date the container so you know when it is expired.
- Use safe food storage and handling practices to avoid contamination.
- Strain your infusion before drinking. Leaving items in the infusion can be a choking hazard.