water and lemon

Drinking enough water to stay properly hydrated is critical to your health but there is so much debate about how much is enough. It seems ridiculous that such a straightforward thing provokes any discussion but unfortunately the modern diet is such a bad influence on water consumption that it needs to be discussed.

A couple of hundred years ago, dehydration was probably never an issue except if you were stuck in the desert. Everybody drank water most of the time and supplemented with a bit of beer or coffee. Nowadays, there’s a Starbucks on every corner and soda in everyone’s shopping basket and most people are dehydrated without even knowing it.

How much is enough?

Thirst is a completely unreliable indication of dehydration for the vast majority of people who have either never developed the sensation or have stopped listening to it. The 8 glasses a day rule is also pretty useless because sometimes you need more due to heat, exercise, medication or stress. The only way is to check your urine – straw colored to light means you are adequately hydrated.

Here’s how to strengthen your hydration muscle:

  • Practice – if you hardly ever drink it, water doesn’t taste good but the more you drink it, the more you will want to drink it.
  • Spread it out – drinking your daily quota of water in one go is counterproductive. It needs to be consumed over the course of the day.
  • Start small – sip water from a small glass several times a day and slowly increase the amount each day.
  • Check your urine – if it’s dark, you are not drinking enough.
  • Have it hot – try hot water with a slice or a squeeze of lemon.
  • Replace – swap one soda, coffee or tea at a time for water.