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WAYS TO INCREASE YOUR H2O INTAKE & SUPPORT YOUR HEALTH

If you’ve let your hydration habits slip or not used to drinking sufficient water in the first place, now’s the perfect time to get back on track. And it’s a worthwhile personal challenge. Our bodies are roughly 60 % water, so even the slightest bit of dehydration can negatively affect how we function, from energy levels to digestion and even immunity. Staying hydrated will also improve the body’s ability to absorb nutrients, as well as keep your digestive system regular. Adequate water is important for healthy gastrointestinal functioning, as it helps break down food and keeps stool soft, helping you stay regular.

If you’re not drinking enough, it pays to sip more. Increasing water intake has been shown to improve hydration of the stratum corneum, which is the outer layer of skin. Also consider the mental boost: Even mild dehydration is linked to more fatigue, less alertness, and a lower mood. What’s more, studies show that upping H2O intake may help adults with obesity, reduce body fat, and lose weight.

It’s clear that most adults generally don’t get enough water. For adults of a healthy weight, the ideal amount varies though typically should be higher. For an adult woman who weighs 60 kilos, for example, the target amount of water would be a little over 2 litres per day. Some of this will come from food, some from fluids like coffee and tea, but most of it should be water. Know that it is possible to drink too much water and that can deplete sodium levels in the body, which are a necessary electrolyte for heart and muscle function.

Here are five smart ways to drink more water — and make it tasty, too:

Know Your Baseline Hydration Level Before Adjusting Your Water Intake. You might be surprised at just how much water you’re really drinking. Challenge yourself to keep track of water intake for just a few days to get an idea of what your normal intake is like. That will give you a baseline and help you calculate what you need to add.

Hydrate When You Wake Up and Before Meals. If you put a water bottle in front of you, it’s easy to get lost in the day’s tasks and forget to take sips, but prioritising hydration morning, day, and night is important. Try to have about two glasses of water first thing in the morning and then one glass of water before every meal and snack. There’s a double benefit to pairing food and water: Drinking H2O also helps you slow down during meal time. If you start a meal with a very empty tummy, it’s easy to eat much faster and forget to thoroughly chew, which impacts how well food is digested. What’s more, it also may help you eat less.

Eat Your Water by Following a Produce-Heavy Diet. Fruits and vegetables have a high water content that will help you meet your daily quota. Fruits like cantaloupe, strawberries, and watermelon and vegetables such as lettuce, cabbage, celery, spinach, and cooked squash are about 90 % water. Dairy products, including milk, yogurt, and cottage cheese, are also good sources of water.

Experiment With How You Drink Water to Maximise Enjoyment. If you’re the type of person who thinks plain water is, well, too plain, experiment with different temperatures and tastes. Make hydration as palatable as possible to be able to keep it up more easily. Try water with ice, without ice, at room temperature, and flavoured with strawberry, lemon, cucumber slices, or herbs like fresh basil or ginger.

Keep Track of Hydration. Make your water bottle your smartphone’s new companion. “Just like you keep your phone right next to you at all times, you should keep a BPA-free water bottle within reach. Make your phone work for you by using a well-rated, popular hydration-tracking app, like Water Reminder (free on Google Play), Drink Water Reminder N Tracker (free on the App Store), or Water Drink Reminder (free on Google Play), which allow you to keep track of what you’re consuming. They will also remind you during the day to start swigging. If you don’t want to download an app, set a timer on your phone to go off every hour to remind you to drink.