Diet and Nutrition: Ways to Sneak Water Into Your Day

Water is necessary for the proper functioning of your body.

Why You Need It

Water keeps your body working the way it should. Your organs, muscles, and joints all need it. It also helps your immune system fight off germs, it's great for your skin, and it cools you down when you're hot. Drinking water can help you lose weight and lower your chances of kidney stones, too. If it's not part of your daily routine, you can do a few things to change that.

Most people get about 20 percent of the water they need every day from food.

Eat Your Water

You can, and you probably do. Most people get about 20% of the water they need each day from food. It gets into your system more slowly that way and can come along with nutrients you need. Foods that have a lot of water include watermelon, cucumbers, zucchini, and tomatoes.

Eating soup is a great way to stay hydrated.

Have Some Soup

It's mostly water, and there's one for every taste. You can make broth from fish, chicken, beef bones, or vegetables. Add beans, greens, meats, grains, or veggies -- even pasta or eggs. If you're under the weather, try some homemade chicken soup: You'll get more H2O, and you might even shake your cold faster.

Add lemon to water for extra antioxidants and potassium and to keep your cells healthy and hydrated.

Add a Twist

A little squeeze of lemon can make plain old water a bit more interesting, and it's good for you, too. Lemons have antioxidants and potassium to help keep your cells healthy, and citric acid to help with digestion and prevent kidney stones.

Drink sparkling or fizzy water to stay hydrated without adding extra sugar to your diet.

Make It Sparkle

If you're looking for something with a little more zip, sparkling or fizzy water may do the trick. The bubbles can give your beverage a splash without adding sugar and other things that aren't good for you.

It's fine to eat salty snacks like lightly-salted popcorn or walnuts because they may make you thirsty so you'll drink more.

Indulge Your Salt Tooth

An afternoon snack of lightly salted walnuts or popcorn might be just the thing to make you reach for a glass of water. Both foods have protein and fiber, and popcorn is a whole grain and fat-free (as long as you don't load it down with butter). Walnuts also have things like omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E that are good for your heart, but don't overdo it -- they're high in calories.

Drinking coffee or tea supplies you with caffeine as well as extra hydration.

Take a Coffee (or Tea) Break

Yes, they have caffeine, but they're also full of water. Don't sip on them all day, though, or you could get the jitters or even a bellyache. Two cups a day should be fine -- and your healthiest bet is to skip the sugar and cream.

Bring a water bottle with you when you leave the house so you'll be more likely to stay hydrated throughout the day.

Bring Your Water With You

It's a simple thing, but it can really make a difference -- if you have some nearby, you're more likely to drink it, especially if you're out and about. To keep your water cold, get a stainless steel bottle and add some ice or use freezer-safe bottles. Grab it on your way out in the morning and have ice water on the go.

Drinking 16 ounces of water before mealtime may help you consume fewer calories.

Start a New Habit

Make it part of your routine to have a tall glass of water before you sit down for a meal. It's good for your body, and you're likely to eat less, too. In one study, people on a diet ate about 85 fewer calories per meal if they drank 16 ounces about a half-hour before each mealtime. Over 12 weeks, they lost 5 pounds -- about 50% more than those who didn't drink up before sitting down.

Use an app to remind yourself to drink more water or set up reminders on your smartphone.

Get an App

If you need a reminder to drink up, there are plenty of apps for that. They can help you keep track of how much water you drink, and suggest how much you should have and when. If you don't want to download anything, set some friendly reminders on your smartphone.

Eating spicy food may encourage you to drink more water or milk.

Spice It Up

If you like foods with a kick, they can help put more fluids into your system. Have you ever tried to eat Indian food without a large glass or two of something cool to drink? To ease the burn, go with milk as your healthy beverage of choice.

Drink when you are thirsty, but you can also use the color of your urine to gauge your hydration.

When to Drink

Drink when you're thirsty -- that's your body's way of letting you know you need more water. But also pay attention when you go to the bathroom. If your pee is dark yellow, your body might be holding onto water, and that can be a sign that you need more. How much you need is different for everyone, depending on your health, how dry the air is where you live, and your daily activities.

Sources:

IMAGES PROVIDED BY:

  1. Getty Images
  2. Thinkstock
  3. Getty Images
  4. Thinkstock
  5. Thinkstock
  6. Getty Images
  7. Thinkstock
  8. Getty Images
  9. Thinkstock
  10. Thinkstock
  11. Thinkstock
  12. Thinkstock

REFERENCES:

  • CDC: "Keeping Your Cool," "A Guide to Drinking Water Treatment Technologies for Household Use," "Water and Nutrition."
  • Cleveland Clinic: "Dehydrated? These 7 Foods Will Satisfy Your Thirst and Hunger," "7 Reasons to Start Your Day with Lemon Water."
  • Mayo Clinic: "Nutrition and healthy eating: Factors that influence water needs."
  • Medical News Today: "Two Cups Of Water Before Each Meal Enhanced Weight Loss In Clinical Trial."
  • Nemours Foundation: "Why Drinking Water Is The Way To Go."
  • Rehydration Project: "Diarrhea Fact Sheet."
  • The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine: "Report Sets Dietary Intake Levels for Water, Salt, and Potassium To Maintain Health and Reduce Chronic Disease Risk," "Dietary Reference Intakes: Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate."
  • UCLA Explore Integrative Medicine: "An Inside Scoop on the Science Behind Chicken Soup and the Common Cold."
WebMD does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. See additional information