6 ways to drink more waterHow Can I Drink More Water? 6 Tips.

Water is life-giving and very important. Last week’s blog post covered many of the reasons why it is important to drink enough water. Here are 6 tips on how to drink more water. (Because knowledge without action is useless, right?)

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What counts as “water?”

First, the big question. What counts? Do herbal teas, smoothies, fruits, or coffee count in your daily water tally?

Officially, I count anything that is both clear and caffeine free. That comes from years in the hospital and the criteria the medical community has for digestibility and time in the stomach.

That means milk is a “solid” and doesn’t count in your “water” intake. It means jello does count. (But that doesn’t necessarily make it healthy!) Nut milks are a bit trickier. They generally contain fat and protein which are slower to digest and absorb. So, they probably don’t count. But coconut water would count.

The reason I don’t count caffeine is that it is a diuretic—which means it makes you get rid of water. Studies say that if you have the same amount of caffeine liquid each day, it can probably count as a positive in your daily tally.

Fruits, veggies, and any other food with a lot of water in it are all very good for you, but don’t count in your tally. But they’re better than nothing!

Drink More Water by Setting a Daily Goal

Even if you don’t hit a goal, you normally do better if you are aiming for something. A good guide to how much you should drink is half of your weight (in pounds) in ounces of water.

The act of setting a goal is important. Don’t miss this step. You see, when you set a goal, you are telling your reticular activating system (the “RAS” is the gatekeeper of your brain) to focus on this thing. The more ways you communicate your goal to your brain (yes, it’s “listening” to what you say and do) the more your brain will help you achieve this goal.

You can read more about the RAS in a post I wrote here. It’s a fascinating part of your brain!

Some people find it helpful to have their entire goal ready to go at the start of the day. If you fill a large container with all you want/need to drink during that day, you can see at a glance how you are doing. Lindsay Banfill often keeps a gallon water bottle with her. She says, “I think having a large container helps in a big way! You are more likely to drink more if there is more available vs filling up a small container multiple times.”

Temperature Matters

This is such a personal preference. My husband only likes ice-cold water. My sister can’t drink cold water, she prefers warm or even hot water. I like room-temperature water. What do you prefer?

Your preference can change seasonally or even with your health. Have you ever noticed that when you have a cold you cannot stand cold water, but warm herbal tea seems to be calling your name?

The temperature of your water also matters to your digestion and metabolism. Warm water in the morning is easiest on your body. Cold water during the day helps you burn more calories as your gut works to warm up again.

Drink More Water by Using a Fun (or Fancy or Personalized) Bottle

Water bottle options are endless. Choose one that will help you drink more.

Use a mason jar water bottleConsider the material. Glass is the best in terms of potential toxins leaching into your water. Of course, glass breaks, so there’s that risk. Stainless steel is a great option. Many stainless steel bottles have a double wall to keep your water hot/cold. And then, there are tons of BPA-free plastic water bottles, too.

Also, decide how you best drink—does a straw work better for you? Or a spout? Or a wide mouth? I find that I need a straw for when I’m driving or I won’t drink much for fear of hitting a bump or speed change and getting a shower. But at home, I drink more if I have a wide mouth bottle. What about you? What works for you?

Members of The Whole Health Community chimed in with their favorite water bottles.

Several people mentioned HydroFlasks and other similar stainless steel water bottles. The double-walled ones are popular because they keep your water icy-cold all day long.

Kleen Kanteen is another very popular stainless steel water bottle. They have a kid-friendly line of water bottles which is very nice to minimize how fast the water spills when it is inevitably tipped over. Note: these are single-walled and, therefore, do not keep your water icy cold, but I have found that ice is a novelty for kids, not a necessity.

After years working in the hospital, one of my biggest criteria is that the area my mouth will touch is covered from germs. I will use a bottle with a straw in the car, but not when I’m in areas where people might cough/sneeze without covering their mouth. Did you know that a sneeze can travel 200 feet?! This Takeya was mentioned as a favorite water bottle and it is nicely protected from germs!

Add Flavor . . . Naturally

Herbal teas are a great way to hydrate with something that has flavor! If you are not familiar with herbal teas, you can find some good variety packs and try out a bunch of options. You’ll discover teas that are good for digestion, sleep, upset stomachs, and (of course) delicious!

This sampler pack from Twinnings has 48 different teas! Not all of them are decaf, but many are and you’ll get to try out a bunch of great new flavors.

Have you tried infusing your water with fruit or herbs? It’s simple, just drop the fruit into your bottle and let it sit for a while. The flavors from the fruit will infuse throughout your water. You can drop the fruit right in, but if you don’t want to worry about choking on a sudden piece of fruit (or having it clog your straw) then use a bottle with a net, basket, or screen.

This one, the Cactaki water bottle, has a strainer to keep the fruit away from the spout. It meets my personal criteria that the area I’m going to put my mouth is covered when not in use. It also has time markers on the side to keep you on track with your goal for the day! The Cactaki comes in grey and white. It also comes with a free e-book full of infused water recipes.

Follow me on Pinterest. Here is my board dedicated to drinks—including infused water.

Essential oils are not a safe way to flavor your water

Please do not use essential oils to flavor your water. As you know, oil and water do not mix. When you add EOs to your water, they just float on top and when you drink them, they are “neat” (undiluted, straight contact) on the delicate mucous membranes of your digestive system. This goes for every brand and every oil. I know the citrus ones are very popular to use in this way, but they can do a lot of damage. For more information, please read these two articles: Why essential oils are not water flavoring agents and Friends don’t let friends drink essential oils.

Use Technology to Drink More Water

Would you find it helpful if your water bottle reminded you to drink more water? With technology, it can! There are now several water bottles on the market that calculate how much you drink, remind you to have more if it’s been a while, and congratulate you on a job well done.

This handy gadget from ULLA attaches to any water bottle and blinks when you haven’t been drinking enough.

The Hidrate Spark 3 not only syncs to your phone, but it lights up when it’s time for more water. One reviewer on Amazon said that “many folks [in my office] remind me to DRINK DRINK DRINK every time the water bottle glows. … The app is easy to use, easy to set up, and has a beautiful simple interface.”

You can also use technology to set reminders on your phone. Set one for every hour and be consistent with your water intake.

Just Do It

At the end of the day, what really matters is that you are adequately hydrated. Sometimes that means just forcing yourself to pick up that cup and take a drink.
6 tips to help you drink more water

6 tips to help you drink more water
6 tips to help you drink more water