The importance of hydration for health is proven by multiple studies, some of which you can see in this Nutrition Review. However, many people find the ‘8 glasses of water a day’ rule quite difficult to follow, even when using hydration reminder apps. On that account, it’s good that a lot of other foods and drinks count toward your daily liquid intake.
What Counts as Fluid in Your Daily Hydration Plan
- Fruits and vegetables
- Any liquid beverages (except alcohol)
- Yogurt and milk
Basically, anything with water in its formula counts toward your fluid intake. However, if you consider these choices more closely, you’ll see that the situation is more complicated. First of all, you need to understand that the actual amount of fluid in products varies. Therefore, you can’t precisely calculate how much of it you’ll get from sources other than water.
There are also other ingredients of the food/drink to be considered. Fruits and vegetables are safe because they do not only help hydrate your body. They also give you dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Overall, these foods are an essential part of any healthy diet.
Milk also falls into the same category, and so do homemade soups if you make them healthy. However, canned soups have high levels of sodium and sugar and might contain various nasty chemicals. Therefore, while they do give you fluids, they also damage your health.
The situation with beverages is similar. Some of them are undoubtedly good for you. For example, green tea is rich in antioxidants and helps you lose weight. On the other hand, soda contains lots of sugar and ‘empty’ calories. Therefore, it adds inches to your waistline and generally weakens your health.
Don’t forget that staying hydrated is essential for effective weight loss because this allows your body to maintain optimal metabolism and health levels. However, it’s drinking plain water that’s at the top of easy weight loss tips. This is because water contains zero calories, yet it helps stave off the worst of hunger pangs. Drinking juice or a soda (diet options included) will also reduce hunger, but it will give you 100+ calories in a single cup.
How to Stay Hydrated in a Healthy & Non-Fat-Adding Way
First, you need to know that to stay hydrated, a human being actually needs more than eight glasses of water a day. According to Mayo Clinic, an adult man needs about 15.5 cups and a woman 11.5 cups a day. However, those are glasses of ‘fluids’ not water per se. And the 8-glass rule presumably derives from the amount of liquid you don’t get through your regular diet.
However, you also shouldn’t forget that there are many factors that affect the human body and the rate at which it loses fluids. Heat, exercise, drugs, and health conditions are some of the most important among them. This means that you need to account for your personal lifestyle, health, and environment, as well as diet, in order to have some idea of how much water to drink.
The rule of thumb is to drink whenever you are feeling thirsty. However, if you are busy or distracted, you might miss those natural ques until they become too severe. Therefore, you should develop a personal hydration plan.
Start with making sure that you have enough water on you during the summer months and workouts. This will prepare you for restoring water which you lose with sweat. Be sure to drink about every 30 minutes or up to every 10 minutes if you have an intense workout. Drink as much as you need to sate your thirst. Same goes for when you are sick or taking drugs with a diuretic effect, which make you lose fluids fast.
Outside of these circumstances, stick to the 8 glasses a day rule.