I’m writing this next to a tall glass of water…literally. There’s a glass of ice-cold H2O next to my computer, but only because it’s about 95ºF inside my apartment. As someone who could definitely use a lesson in how to drink more water, this current setup is an anomaly for me, and only came to be as a result of the oppressive heat of summer.
When my physical setting is decidedly more temperate, I lean toward prioritizing my caffeine intake over a water break, only remembering to hydrate when I’m so thirsty. I’m aware that it’s not the best habit of mine as far as my health is concerned, and I could certainly benefit from leading a more hydrating life. But the truth is that I, at least, find water to be incredibly boring and could definitely use some creative tips to help me learn how to drink more water and then actually, you know, do it.
If you, too, find yourself parched on the regular but haven’t found a solution that sticks for boosting your hydration game, we found some icy-fresh ideas. So, grab your favorite fashionable water bottle and pull yourself out of the caffeine-to-cabernet cycle using the following tips on how to drink more water.
But first, understand 5 benefits of drinking more water.
“The human body is about 60 percent water and needs to be continually hydrated throughout the day in order to optimally function,” says Amy Gorin, RDN, a plant-based registered dietitian in the New York City area. “Hydration helps with everything from healthy digestion to helping to prevent headaches and UTIs.”
Let’s unpack that a little, just so we’re crystal clear.
1. Headache relief
If your noggin is getting a searing headache, grab yourself a glass of water. One reason for the pain might be that you’re dehydrated, as that can be a major cause for tension headaches.
2. UTI prevention
If you have issues with recurring UTIs, amping up your water intake might help you flush it out. In fact, one 2018 study, published by JAMA, in which all participants were women who drank less than 1.5 liters of water a daily and had recurring UTIs had each their water consumption to 1.5 liters. Half of those women saw a significant decrease in UTIs.
3. Better complexion
It’s not so much that drinking more water will directly make you more moisturized and give you a Jennifer Aniston-esque complexion (she may drink quite a bit of water, but wealth, access, and genetics also certainly play in). Rather, drinking more water may help flush out toxins, reduce flare-ups of skin issues, and improve overall skin health.
“Adequate hydration helps the skin to optimize circulation to the skin and toxin removal from the skin, but only in extreme cases does it correlate with skin hydration levels,” dermatologist Dendy Engelman, MD, previously told Well+Good. “Increased inflammation in the body disrupts its ability to regulate the immune system and can, therefore, lead to flares of skin conditions like acne, eczema, and psoriasis.”
4. An energy boost
It’s why you don’t find anyone guzzling soda when they’re doing laps around the park (I mean, I hope). Paula Simpson, RNCP, a holistic beauty nutritionist, previously told Well+Good that when you’re dehydrated, “the biochemical reactions that occur when breaking down carbohydrates and fat for energy slow down. You’re not getting that energy as quickly as you would.” So having water on tap, literally or otherwise, can help you keep going and going and going.
5. Digestion aid
Keeping extra hydrated can help the body’s detoxing and digestive processes, and keep things really, uh, flowing.
Okay, now here are 7 tips for how to drink more water to actually soak up those benefits.
1. Always have a water bottle near you
And not just because it’s a chic fitness and wellness accessory. When you have water on hand, you’re less likely to be so dehydrated. “One of the best ways to drink more water is to give yourself easy access to it,” says Gorin. “Carry around a water bottle with you to sip throughout the day. Make sure it’s a bottle that you like—for instance, there are wide-mouth bottles or ones with straws.”
2. Likewise, consider investing in a smart bottle
If you can’t keep track of how many cups you’re gulping a day, invest in a high-tech water bottle that’ll take stock of your daily intake.
3. Eat some watermelon (or whatever water-rich fruit tickles your fancy)
“Fruit is hydrating and provides water,” says Gorin. “For example, apples and fresh cherries are 82 percent water. Even a banana is 75 percent water! Eat it on its own for a snack, or make chocolate nice cream with a banana, or cherry oatmeal.”
For other ideas, know that—true to its name—watermelon is 92 percent water. It’s also wonderful for your gut health, keeping everything running in your digestive tract. So if you’re exhausted by sipping on plain old H20, freezing some watermelon cubes to dress up your next beverage and keep hydration levels high could be smart idea for you.
4. Or infuse your water
You can infuse your water with any number of flavors to make your water more exciting: citruses, mint sprigs, rosewater, pomegranate, cucumber, whatever. Sometimes I, for one, feel the only way I can actually keep drinking is by spritzing some lemon juice in my glass.
5. Start and end your day with warmer water
Maybe this one isn’t super appealing in a heat wave, but it’s an Ayurveda-approved way to strike balance in your body with your hydration habit. “In general ice cold water is not good [according to Ayurveda]; we should be drinking room-temperature or lukewarm water,” Ayurvedic consultant Medha Garud previously told Well+Good. “It’s cleansing to to the digestive system and encourages more circulation.” She recommends a glass of warm water with lemon or lime in the morning, and hot water and non-stimulating teas at night.
6. Or drink it in whatever way you like
I could provide any number of suggestions for how to drink more water, but if you find my preferences gross or simply unappealing, you’re not going to be chugging with ease.
“Drink your water the way you like it, whether that means sweetening plain seltzer with a squeeze of fruit juice, or infusing water by adding berries, to a pitcher of water and refrigerating it overnight,” says Gorin.
7. Use a water-tracking app
I’ve had on-again, off-again success with Plant Nanny, a super cute app that gamifies your water intake. I love it because, with each glass, you get closer and closer to a beautiful little garden. I hate it because the one weekend I’m just trying to live my life and enjoy margaritas, my plant dies. In any event, it is effective at keeping its users accountable (whether that means a guilt trip or not).