Jennifer Williams, MPH, a nutrition scientist at Abbott specializing in hydration.
Drinking enough water is crucial for many important bodily functions. Fluids help lubricate your joints, assist digestion, deliver nutrients to cells throughout your body, regulate your body temperature and even cushion your brain and spinal cord. Dehydration can lead to a number of unwanted conditions, such as fatigue, brain fog and headaches.
The exact amount of water your body needs per day depends on a number of factors, including your body size, activity level and the weather. As a general rule, women should drink about 9 cups of fluid per day, and men should drink roughly 13 cups daily, according to the National Academy of Medicine.
If you're struggling to get enough fluids, you're not alone. Mild dehydration is common for people of all ages. It can be a challenge to stay hydrated, but these tips can help you establish habits to keep your body running like a well-oiled machine.
Even if you know you need to drink frequently throughout the day to stay hydrated, it can be easy to forget or to let time get away from you. So give yourself some friendly reminders. There are plenty of ways to do this, and the best one is the one that works for you.
Try to set reminders on your phone; connect drinking with a specific activity, such as using the restroom; or place water bottles in rooms and areas you frequent, such as your car.
Ideally, foods should serve up about 20% of your daily fluid intake. The bulk of that water can easily come from fruits and veggies. Some particularly juicy produce picks — such as iceberg lettuce, cucumber and watermelon — are over 90% water.
Consider how many servings of fruits and veggies you're currently eating per day. Then, over time, move toward a five-a-day habit. Start small for sustainable success rather than making big, drastic changes. For example, you might pair a piece of fruit with your morning coffee, add spinach and diced tomatoes to your spaghetti or stir some strawberries into your Greek yogurt.
What goes in must come out. And while thirst may not be a perfect indicator of hydration status, urine color is a pretty reliable one. So, before you flush, Williams recommends taking a peek. If you're well hydrated, your urine should be clear or light yellow. Dark yellow or amber urine can be a telltale sign of dehydration.
Adjust your daily fluid intake to keep yourself in the light yellow range. You may notice that it takes more fluids to keep yourself hydrated on days that you exercise or are outside in hot or humid weather. Over time, you'll get a better sense of how much fluid it takes to stay within that ideal range.
Fluid intake guidelines are just that: rough guidelines. But by building sustainable daily hydration habits, you can help ensure that your body is getting what it needs to function at its best.
Article originally published February 28, 2023.
When you're getting ready for a trip, staying hydrated while traveling might not be on your radar — but it should be. Air travel can be surprisingly dehydrating, setting you up for possible effects of mild dehydration, such as headaches, dizziness and fatigue, before you even arrive at your destination. Not getting enough fluids can interfere with short-term memory, attention and mood, too.
Summer is the season that usually gets people thinking about how to stay hydrated. Hot weather makes you sweat, which increases the need for fluids, and you may feel thirstier in general. But what about winter?
Hydration in cold weather can be easy to overlook, but the truth is that cold temperatures can also increase the body's demand for fluids. In this article, you'll learn about how cold weather can increase your potential for dehydration, the signs and symptoms of dehydration and tips for staying hydrated all year long.
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