7 Tips to Staying Hydrated
Your mission, should you choose to accept it: Stay happy and hydrated simply by drinking more water. Find out how -- and how much -- with this easy-to-follow guide.
4 Reasons to Keep Sipping
1. Get a glowing complexion: Properly hydrated cells lead to more elastic skin, giving you that healthy glow.
2. Outsmart a cold: Drinking water keeps mucus moving. That's gross, but the sticky stuff snags bacteria when you inhale. If mucus is thin, it's easier to get that cold-causing junk out of your system.
3. Protect your joints: Fluid keeps the cartilage in your joints nice and squishy, helping it serve its shock- absorbing purpose during your next workout (or even your walk home).
4. Banish the bad stuff: The liver and kidneys, which filter waste from our bodies, need plenty of water to do their deep-cleaning work.
The Truth About Electrolytes
Getting water into the body is only the first step to hydration. To keep it there (and get it into cells and tissues), you need electrolytes like potassium and sodium. For optimum hydration, try to keep those two electrolytes in balance. Most of us get enough sodium but could use some potassium-rich foods. You know about bananas, but chard, potatoes and avocado are also good sources.
A Superhydrating Smoothie
Start your day with this superhydrating smoothie: It's a combo of naturally electrolyte-rich coconut water, water-based fruits and almond butter, a source of the hydration helpers sodium and magnesium.
The Hydration Equation
You do the math! We've all heard the "eight glasses a day" rule, but you may need more or less than that. To find out how many ounces of water you should be drinking, use this simple hydration equation.
The Caffeine Conundrum
Coffee and tea are often pegged as prime dehydrators, but caffeine shouldn't affect your hydration if you keep your intake under 250 milligrams a day -- that's about two 8-oz. cups of home-brewed coffee. (In fact, you can add that 16 oz. to your daily water tally.) Any more may have a diuretic effect, so if you're pounding the java, chug more water, too!
Still Thirsty? Chow Down!
Up to 20 percent of your day's water should come from food. Quench your thirst (and help your health) by nibbling on water-packed veggies. Try a salad made with spinach, cucumbers, radishes, red bell peppers and tomatoes, five ingredients that weigh in with at least 90 percent water. Talk about a liquid lunch!
Beware of Alcohol
Alcohol is a proven dehydrator. When you drink booze, your kidneys get the message to release water, which is why you hit the restroom so often at the bar. Try to down a glass of water after each drink. That extra H2O may just help you avoid that other "h" word: hangover.