We’re officially in the dog days of summer and that means it’s important to stay hydrated. As you may know, staying hydrated is essential to having a healthy body. Not only does it cool you down in the summer, but it also helps your body work properly. From maintaining body temperature (clearly important in the hotter months) to lubricating joints, digesting food, and eliminating waste, water plays a critical role in nearly every bodily function. Even if your plan is to stay inside and soak in the A/C, it’s truly important to stay hydrated.
Luckily, it’s not just about drinking water constantly (though that can help. Here are our top tips to help you stay healthy and hydrated, even when the thermometer looks like it’s going to explode.
How much water should you drink
First off, it’s important to know how much water you should drink. There is such a thing as over-saturation (though the only potential consequence is having to urinate too much). The amount you drink in a day really varies from person to person, based on things like age, height, weight, and activity level. On average, though, men should consume about 131 ounces per day and women should consume about 95 ounces per day (and slightly more if they’re pregnant or breast feeding). For children between 5 and 8 years old, 40 ounces per day is a good target; children aged 9 to 18 should get 56 – 88 ounces total (i.e. the older they are the more they should drink). This is total water consumption, though, so not all of this needs to be from liquids (more on that below).
Bring it with you
One easy way to help you stay hydrated is to carry a reusable water bottle with you wherever you go. Ideally, you can get an insulated bottle that will keep the water it holds cooler (and can double for holding hot liquids in the winter). Additionally, it’s highly recommended you buy a BPA-free bottle. BPA stands for Bisphenol-A and is a chemical commonly found in water bottles, as well as other plastics and resins. BPA has been linked to higher risk of various health issues including:
- Increased tooth decay
- Male impotence
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Breast cancer
Lastly, BPA bottles are bad for the environment. They tend to not be recyclable and they require more fossil fuels to be used in their production. Non-BPA water bottles, on the other hand, can be reused more frequently, and generally have a lower carbon footprint.
Eat more fruits & veggies
Another way to help you get enough water is to eat more fruits and veggies. You may already enjoy the recommended serving amounts each day, but adding just an additional serving of fruits or veggies with high water content every day can add as much as an additional 10-16 ounces to your water intake. Aim for fruits and veggies that are high in water, including:
- Melons (cantaloupe and watermelon)
Replace snacking with water
If you’re the type of person who likes to snack a lot, it’s a good idea to replace at least some of your snack intake with water. Not only will this help you stay hydrated, but you’ll also consume less calories while still filling up. This is especially important if you like to snack later in the evening, when you might be drawn to chips or other crunchy veggies.