When it comes to calculating how much water we should be drinking daily, there’s no clear answer. Indeed, we’ve all heard the eight glasses a day mandate, but—according to the Mayo Clinic—studies have produced varying recommendations over the years, and your water intake really depends on lots of various factors, including your overall health, how active you are, and the climate in which you live. One thing has been agreed upon by experts: Women should aim to sip around 8 ounces of healthy fluids every day (sorry Diet Coke lovers.)
So, why is water so important? It not only composes about 60 percent of your body weight, but every single bodily system depends on it. As the Mayo Clinic pointed out, water flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues.
A lack of water can lead to dehydration, which in turn can seriously zap energy, make your skin dull and dry, and have some pretty big effects on the daily functions of your body, so it’s key to find plenty of ways to make sure you’re getting enough. That said, we’ve rounded up 13 sneaky ways to drink more water every day.
1. Drink a glass of lukewarm water with fresh lemon (and cayenne pepper, if you dare) first thing every morning.
This morning drink gets your organs going, and lemon juice and cayenne pepper both have major anti-fungal, immune boosting, and detoxification properties. Plus, Lemon juice is nature’s best tool for aiding in digestion and regularity, destroying bacteria and cleansing the system.
2. Keep a bottomless bottle on your desk.
It sounds obvious, but we’re often at work for eight hours or more—that’s the majority of your day, so it’s prime water-drinking time. Keep a large water bottle filled to the top and sip all day. Make up your mind that when it gets below a certain point, you’ll get up a refill it. Freezing in your office? Intersperse your H2O with decaf green tea, which also hydrates.
3. Get a fluid companion.
Don’t have a desk job? Carry a reusable water bottle with you everywhere you go and refill it throughout the day. Keeping a water companion with you will serve as a constant reminder to drink up.
4. Jazz it up.
Slice fresh cucumbers, ginger, limes, lemons, or fresh strawberries and toss ‘em into your water for added flavor (and keep a Tupperware container at work, too.) Even better? freeze fruit and use it in place of ice cubes.
5. Get a good filter or water purification system.
Believe it or not, purified water tastes better and will make getting your daily dose more appetizing. Keep a purified pitcher filled up in your fridge so that every time you open the refrigerator door, you’ll remember to pour yourself a glass of water, or add one to your faucet.
6. Drink water with a straw.
Drinking through a straw helps you drink larger amounts in a shorter period of time. Don’t believe us? Try it, and you’ll be surprised at how much more water you can down in one day.
7. Eat water-rich foods.
Add water-rich fruits and vegetables to your diet, such as watermelon (it’s 92 percent water by weight and blended up with some ice makes a tasty snack.) Also try munching on more celery and tomatoes (about 95 percent and 85 percent, respectively), zucchinis (97 percent), eggplant (92 percent) and oranges (87 percent).
8. Drink before meals.
Try drinking plenty of water between or before meals, not just while you eat. Make a rule for yourself to drink a full glass of water before every meal and at least half of a glass with every snack — it’s an easy reminder to stop and hydrate. Plus, guzzling more liquids helps to curb hunger which can sometimes be disguised as thirst. Stay better hydrated and lose extra pounds while you’re at it!
9. Eat more grains and rice.
Some cereals, rice, and grain-rich foods are also a good source of water. Believe it or not, milk added into a bowl of cereal contains 87 percent water.
10. Cut back on the caffeine.
Drinks like coffee and soda have a diuretic effect and cause the body to eliminate more water than they bring in. So do your body a favor and every time you think about reaching for a Cola, drink some water instead.
11. Dilute other drinks. If you’re a juice, iced tea, or lemonade drinker, dilute half with water—you’ll still get the flavor without all the calories, and you’ll be sneaking in more H2O.
12. Out on the town? Drink water.
We’re not necessarily condoning booze, but if you find yourself going out for cocktails, make sure you always—without fail—drink a full 8-ounce glass of water after every drink. This not only slows the absorption of alcohol, but it aids in preventing dehydration.
13. Track intake with apps.
Naturally, there’s an app for keeping track of daily water intake. Try Waterlogged, which uses reminders and charts, plus it’s free.