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.