If you're a fan of articles that offer health and wellbeing advice, you'll no doubt have read countless times how important it is to drink more water. But why exactly is water so important?
According to the Natural Hydration Council, water performs crucial roles in the body, including carrying nutrients to cells, helping to remove waste products from major organs and helping to regular body temperature. Water accounts for 60% of an adult's body weight and 75% of that of a child. The human brain is also made up of 73% water, which may explain why you may find it difficult to concentrate if you become dehydrated.
The human body also doesn't store water - in fact water is constantly being lost from the body - which means it must be replaced regularly through food and drink. Yet according to a survey presented at the UK Bottled Water Conference in 2014, 60% of people drink just 1 glass of water, or less, every day.
The problem, perhaps, is that despite being refreshing, water isn't always the thing most of us reach for when we're thirsty. And even if you're trying to be aware of how much water you drink, when you're busy it's easy to forget to drink it. So how can you get into the habit of drinking more H2O?
The good news is there are lots of ways to train yourself to drink more water. Try our tips to stay perfectly hydrated.
Buy a water bottle
Many people don't drink much water because they don't keep a bottle nearby at all times. If you have a bottle of water to hand, it can help keep you hydrated as you're more likely to take a sip every now and then (sipping is considered better at keeping you hydrated than guzzling).
Try buying a BPA-free reusable bottle that you can wash every day and fill with water in the morning, and don't go anywhere without it. If you buy a standard plastic bottle of water, don't reuse it for more than a few days, as the plastic can start to break down over time.
You could even consider investing in a more premium bottle. There are many types available, including insulated bottles that keep your water cold all day and even bottles that keep track of how much you've been drinking.
You can also make your own water tracking bottle that can help you monitor your water intake. Using a BPA-free plain plastic bottle, divide the length of the bottle into 200ml sections and mark each with a progressive hour of the day - the aim is to drink 200ml every hour. If you're using a 1litre bottle, divide the bottle into 5 equal sections and mark each section with a morning and an afternoon time using a marker pen (starting at the top), and refill the bottle half way through the day. The markings will remind you when you need to drink more water and let you see how you're progressing.
Add some flavour
Water may be the best thing you can drink, but most people don't find it particularly palatable. But there are ways of making it more interesting. You could add some pieces of fresh fruit, such as slices of lemon or lime, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, or pieces of orange of grapefruit (squeeze the juice into the water before you add the fruit). You could also add some slices of vegetables such as cucumber, ginger or celery, or even some fresh mint or lavender.
Alternatively make some fruity ice cubes by freezing blueberries, grapes or slices of strawberries, kiwi or raspberries, then add them to a glass or pitcher of water instead of plain ice.
Unless you're already in the habit of drinking water throughout the day you may need a water drinking reminder. This could be something as simple as a big sign on your fridge door that says ‘Drink more water', adding drinking water to your to-do list or setting alarms on your smartphone or computer that remind you it's time for a slurp.
You could even download a water drinking reminder app, not just to remind you when to drink but also to keep track of how many glasses you've had in any given day. Some apps allow you to set drinking water goals, and may even analyse how much you drink over the course of a day, week or month.
Make it routine
Most people follow a similar routine each day - we get up, we brush our teeth, we eat breakfast, and so on. So try adding drinking a glass of water to some of the things you do every day, and you'll soon be drinking plenty. Here are a few more ideas to get you started:
- Always start the day with a large glass of water (this is really helpful as your body loses lots of moisture during sleep through sweating and breathing)
- Have a glass of water while you're waiting for the kettle to boil
- Always start a meal with a glass of water (it could even make you eat less)
- Drink a glass of water after each time you take a bathroom break at work
- Keep a bottle of water in the car and take a few sips whenever you stop in traffic
- Drink some water during each ad break when you're watching your favourite TV show
Eat more water
Your body can also use water found in the foods you eat. So try eating more foods that have a high water content, such as cucumber, celery, radishes, watermelon, cantaloupe melon, lettuce, tomatoes, green peppers, broccoli, courgettes, cauliflower, spinach, star fruit oranges and grapefruit.
Meanwhile a sneaky way to make yourself want to drink more water is to eat more spicy foods. One easy way to do this is to add some dried chilli flakes or some chopped fresh chilli as a garnish to your meals.
Not sure how much fluid you should you be drinking? For more details about your daily water intake, read our article How much should you drink? Nutritionist Anjanette Fraser from The Natural Alternative also offers lots of useful tips in our nutrition webinar Nutrition for improved energy, brain & sleep.
For more advice and information, call +44 (0) 1788 556 366 or chat to an advisor online 24 hours a day.