This age old adage, â€œ8 cups of water a dayâ€, is not exactly scientifically based. The specific recommendation is thought to come from the National Academy of Sciences back in the 1940â€™s who advised 1 milliliter of fluid for each calorie burned, translated into more common terms this would be about 8 cups for someone eating around 2,000 calories each day. I am certainly not here to dispute the need for water as this amazing hydrator is crucial to health; however I am here to help you understand the many ways you can ensure you are getting enough fluids throughout the day.
GETTING MORE WATER AT BREAKFAST
Starting the day off with one or two cups of Joe is absolutely fine, it is when this amount is exceeded that I would begin to worry about your hydration status. Caffeine is a natural diuretic, the opposite of hydrating water. Consequently caffeine (coffee, tea, cappuccinos, bull beverages, etc). will speed up our kidneys increasing the number of trips to the restroom (alcohol does the same thing http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/drugs-alcohol/hangover6.htm).
In moderation, less than 16 fluid ounces of coffee in the morning (or 2 cups) is not anything to worry about just watch out for those 31 fluid ounce sized trenta (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/17/starbucks-new-size-trenta-graphic_n_810083.html) coffees at Starbucksâ€¦
Alternatively typical breakfast foods and drinks may supply a fair amount of fluid on their own. A couple ideas:
â€¢ Freshly peeled orange or grapefruit slices
â€¢ Beautiful bunches of grapes
â€¢ Chopped spinach and peppers in your omelet.
These are only a few of the ways you can get more fluid into your morning meal. If you need that glass of orange juice with your meal, try filling your cup only half-way and filling the rest with water, that way you still get the great taste yet with a little less sugar and a lot more water.
HIGH-WATER FOODS FOR LUNCH AND DINNER.
As lunch or supper approaches try these high-water foods to fill your meal:
â€¢ Low-sodium soups
â€¢ Brown rice
â€¢ A sandwich with fresh cucumber and tomato slices for work
â€¢ A colorful spinach salad with a sweet side of blueberries.
All of these foods have high water content and will certainly help you reach your fluid goals.
DRINK WATER TO CURB HUNGER!
Hungry between meals? When our body is dehydrated it may actually cause us to feel hungry because our body is trying to encourage us to eat or drink something with fluids in it, however it simply urges you to eat unnecessary calories. The next time you feel hungry grab a glass of water first, you may just find that you are not actually hungry just yet and save yourself from gaining weight while also booting hydration.
If you would rather enjoy a couple snacks throughout the day, why not aim for those with a higher fluid content?
â€¢ Milk and yogurt
On the other hand, salty snacks such as chips and pretzels will counteract your efforts, so for each salty serving drink a cup of water to balance things out.
WHAT WATER DOES FOR OUR BODY.
While I do not want you to fret over counting up your 8 glasses of water each day, I do want to be sure you understand how beneficial water is to our health. Water can help:
â€¢ Flush out toxins
â€¢ Fight fatigue
â€¢ Relieve constipation
â€¢ Increase feelings of fullness (aiding weight loss)
â€¢ Reduce risk of kidney stones
â€¢ Lessens headaches
â€¢ Aids blood flow (reducing stress on the heart)
â€¢ Even improve skin tone
I encourage you to incorporate more water-rich foods in your diet and start off each meal with one cup of water, aiming for 4 cups per day. If this still seems like an overwhelming amount, I encourage you to head into your kitchen and measure out 4 cups using a measuring cup. You could accomplish this goal with a single water bottle (http://mysigg.com/about/bottle-size-chart/)!
Regardless of the specific number of glasses you drink each day, if you rarely feel thirsty, enjoy a diet with 5 cups of water filled produce (http://www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov/ ), and still produce a healthy amount of light yellow urine (about 6 cups) each day, you are probably well hydrated. If this is not the case, and you still have concerns schedule an appointment with your doctor or registered dietitian right away.