It’s summer, and it’s hot. In fact, it will only get hotter for most of us in the next 6 weeks since August is typically the hottest month of the year. Are you feeling the heat?
If so, there’s good news. Our bodies were made with a built-in cooling system that relies on water. Water is essential for our health. It is used by the body to regulate the body temperature and so much more. Our bodies themselves are made of 60% water, and our blood is 90% water.
Yet, many American adults report being dehydrated much of the time. We typically see low fluid intake reported by adults in surveys about drinking during the workday and during exercise.
If this describes your situation, it’s time to drink more. Here are 10 ways and reasons to drink enough water during the next 6 weeks of heat.
For most of our lives, we’ve been told to drink 64 ounces of water per day. And while this recommendation is not based on known science, it’s also not a bad idea. Most people who drink this amount feel good and hydrated during normal seasonal temperatures.
However, if you consider the high heat of summer months, and any exercise or activity including working out, walking, gardening, or more, you likely need more.
And, the more you sweat on a individual basis, the more you might also need.
So what is a good summer goal?
Women can shoot for 64-80 ounces water or fluid per day, and men 80-100 ounces. If you workout or engage in other activity in which you sweat, add 16-32 ounces fluid for every hour of sweating.
In a perfect world, we would drink when we are thirsty, eat when we are hungry, and stop when full of either. However, most American adults live in an imperfect overly-busy world. Other people’s needs often take precedent, and it’s easy to forego our own needs throughout the day.
If your schedule makes it tough for you to pay good attention to your thirst ques and drink enough, try drinking to a schedule.
An easy way to drink 80 ounces of water per day is 32 ounces by noon, 32 ounces by 4:00 pm, and 16 more ounces by 6:00 pm. This allows you to stop drinking early enough and avoid disrupting your sleep schedule.
It may not be a crucial step for everyone, but many of us will be successful at a task if we like the gear: how it feels, functions, or looks. Perhaps you really love a metal water bottle that keeps water ice-cold. Or, maybe you prefer one that’s easy to carry. Others might insist it holds the full 32 ounces at once, making it easier to achieve their hydration goals.
Whatever your preference, find a container you like, and go with it!
If your tap water doesn’t taste great, consider a filter in your fridge, on a pitcher, or on your faucet. Some water tastes bad due to contaminants, others taste bad due to chemicals used to kill contaminants, and still others might offend your taste buds due to natural, harmless compounds in the earth.
No matter the cause, if you don’t trust your water or like how it tastes, you’re not likely to drink it. In this case, find a filter to minimize odors, foul tastes, or other issues. Filters that connect to your faucet are often an inexpensive place to start.
Sometimes, your motivation for doing something makes all the difference in your follow-through. If you are told you “need” 80 ounces of water, you may or may not drink this amount. If you’re told it can support your metabolism, you may be more engaged and make sure you do.
How can water support your metabolism?
Ice-cold water may increase your calorie output, even if just slightly.
It’s all about the math. Your body must raise any cold fluid that enters it to approximately 37 degrees Celsius. Ice-cold water is only 3 degrees Celsius when you drink it. Sixty-four ounces of ice-cold water requires about 61 calories of energy to raise it to body temperature.
This may not seem like much, but it equates to an easy 427 calorie output per week, by the math.
And in studies, we find good results as well. A very small study of 7 men and 7 women showed that drinking 500 mL (approximately 16 ounces) of ice water per day increased calories output by ~100 calories per day. This increase was measured by indirect calorimetry (2).
The researchers of this study concluded that drinking 2 liters of ice-water would increase calories output by 400 calories per day, much more than the math equation stipulates.
Either way, ice-cold water requires energy output from our bodies, helping us burn more each day.
If you get tired of plain ol’ water glass after glass, make it a bit more fun with healthy flavorings. Try ginger strips, berries, cucumbers or lemon. Or, try our much-loved low-carb lemonade.
Want even more nutrition with every swig? Add probiotics, wheatgrass, beet powder and more with keto-friendly fruit and fermented vegetable powders.
Another great motivation for drinking more? Great skin!
Amazingly, adequate hydration has been associated with an improved appearance of skin. One recent study found that an increase of 2 liters water per day improved skin condition and physiology, even in those who already consumed high amounts of water (3).
Not many skin products come as inexpensive as hydration, so drink up!
Ever felt fatigued, cranky or uneasy without explanation? Or, the onset of a headache despite good sleep and no other known reasons?
It could be dehydration.
Believe it or not, dehydration has been linked to cognition and mood changes (4). What’s more, many who suffer from migraines report dehydration as a suspect cause.
It’s difficult to overstate the whole-body health benefits of tea. And, there’s no better way to brew green tea or black tea in the summer than cold-brew or sun-tea.
Simply, place 2-3 tablespoons green or black tea in 16 ounces water, and let it brew a few hours on your counter or in the sun. You can add ginger, cinnamon sticks, lemon slices and more. Cold-brew tea is delish, nutritionally potent, and can help you drink enough water despite its gentle diuretic effect.
Cartilage, found in joints and the disks of the spine, contains around 80 percent water. If your body experiences long-term dehydration, it may also experience lack of needed joint fluid.
What’s more, dehydration often precipitates gout flares (5).
Dehydration can be a problem for many during the hot summer months, but you can take action and drink enough water each day with our tips. Help your body cool down through its built in water cooling system!