Keeping hydrated is crucial for health and well-being. Did you know that adult humans are approximately 60 % water and there is no universally agreed quantity of water that must be consumed on a daily basis. Drinking more water and staying adequately hydrated may help with some health problems, such as constipation, urinary and bladder infections, kidney stones, and skin dehydration. When dehydrated, the skin can become more vulnerable to skin disorders and wrinkling.
According to the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, https://www.nap.edu/read/10925/chapter/6#74 the average recommended daily intake of water from both food and drink is approximately 125 ounces for men and 91 ounces for women.This would be around 15.5 cups for men and just over 11 cups for women. However, around 80 percent of this should come from drinks, including water, and the rest will be from food. So an average for men to drink would be 100 ounces and for women 73 ounces. You can also use the color of your urine as your guide to know if you are drinking enough, aim for pale, clear urine.(Are you Hydrated, Urine Color Test).
Another easy way to remember is to drink at least one half of your body weight in ounces of water and eat lots of hydrating foods.. Fresh fruits and vegetables and all non-alcoholic fluids count towards this recommendation. Foods like melons, cucumber, zucchini, lettuce, cabbage and celery are actually 90-95% water plus they also contain essential minerals to help with absorption (USDA Food Data Central) . Tip: Keep melon slices in your fridge or add hydrating veggies to your salads and sandwiches.
What about the quality of the water you are drinking?
According to Clean Water Action , Americans buy an estimated 50 billion water bottles a year from a growing industry projected to reach $334 billion by 2023. Many consumers purchasing bottled water think it is better than tap water. In reality, countless companies are simply filtering municipal water and bottling it! (EcoWatch) and according to Next time you reach for the bottle of “pure” water, think twice as popular brands may be selling you water contaminated with microplastics and toxic chemicals from their plastic packaging and more than 17 million barrels of oil are required to produce enough plastic water bottles to meet America’s annual demand for bottled water https://www.treehugger.com/study-water-bottle-consumption-bad-environment-5197597
Most bottled water is sold in plastic #1, also known as polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Research shows that PET may be an endocrine disruptor, altering our hormonal systems. Although this type of plastic is BPA free, phthalates in bottles can still seep into your water, especially when exposed to high temperatures or stored for an extended period of time. Some companies, use plastic #7 for their 3-gallon water bottles. This type of plastic contains BPA, which has been banned in countries around the world due to its toxicity. BPA exposure is linked to multiple health effects including fertility issues, altered brain development, cancer, and heart complications.
In addition to the cost and these potentially negative health effects, plastic has toxic pollutants that are a detriment to our environment. Plastic pollution has negatively affected the ocean’s ecosystems and the marine animals who reside there. It can take hundreds or even thousands of years for plastic to break down, so the damage to the environment is long-lasting.
How about your tap water?
Depending upon where you live , you can find out exactly what pollutants are in your water at the EWG Tap Water Database Check out your local water utility in this database and according to the EWG legal does not necessarily equal safe. Getting a passing grade from the federal government does not mean the water meets the latest health guidelines. Also, legal limits for contaminants in tap water have not been updated in almost 20 years.
One great option for your tap water is to get a filter. There is a filter for almost every budget, from costly whole-home water filtration systems to inexpensive water-filtering pitchers. In addition, filtering your water could improve the taste. (HealthLine) Point-of-use water filters, such as water-filtering pitchers or filters that attach directly to a faucet, can reduce levels of waterborne bacteria, lead, and arsenic in contaminated tap water to safe levels .Using a water filter is also less expensive and more eco-friendly than purchasing bottled water, which is oftentimes no different than tap water (PubMed Tap vs Bottled )
My favorite point of use is the Berkey Water System, the best countertop water filter that removes 200 + unsafe contaminants for safe, clean water. It does not require any electricity or special installation and the filters last 10 times longer than other filters.
Check their website Berkey Water Filters, click on picture below or scan this QR code.
Here are some tips on how to increase your water intake:
- Keep a reusable water (glass or metal) bottle with you so you can easily drink water in any setting, whether you’re running errands, traveling, or at home, work, or school. Keeping a water bottle handy can also serve as a visual reminder to drink more water. If you see the bottle on your desk or table, you will constantly be reminded to drink more.
- Flavor it by adding fruit to your water. Lemons, limes and oranges are tried and true. Cucumber, watermelon, strawberries and herbs also are delicious options.
- Tie it into a routine by drinking a glass of water after every time you brush your teeth, eat a meal , check your email or use the bathroom.
- Track it by investing in a high-tech bottle that connects to your smartphone and records how much you drink , set an alarm as a reminder and track your intake in your calendar or use an app . (Water Tracker App)
- Make it a challenge.by kicking off a healthy competition with a friend or your kids to see who can meet their guzzling goal most often.
- Replace other drinks such as soda, juice and sports drinks with water or herbal tea. Those drinks are are loaded with added sugars which can be extremely detrimental to your health (Added Sugars). Artificial sweeteners are not any healthier and are linked to obesity (Side effects of Sweeteners). If you can not give up soda or juice completely, try alternating with water. Each time you finish a glass of water, switch to soda or juice and vice versa. Furthermore, replacing these sugary drinks with water is an easy and cheap way to cut calories, potentially helping you lose weight.
Finally, there are other things we consume and enjoy like caffeine and alcohol that work against optimal hydration levels. Always drink an extra glass of water for every diuretic beverage you consume to help stay on top of your hydration levels!