[Below is my transcript of my video about how to stay hydrated, along with supplemental information on the topic.]
One of the most common questions I get from patients is, “How much water should I drink each day?”
The answer on how to stay hydrated with water is typically drinking between 25 percent and 50 percent of your body weight in ounces of water daily. So if you weigh 160 pounds, you typically want to try to get between 40–80 ounces of water a day.
Water is vital for your health and for hydration, and there are many reasons you should drink enough water. (1) But that question — how much water should I be drinking a day — isn’t necessarily the best question because it’s not just about how much water you get … it’s about hydration.
If you are dehydrated, some of the biggest side effects can be headaches, lack of energy, weight gain, lack of cleansing and detoxification, a weakened immune response, getting colds and flus easily, and feeling lethargic or even experiencing brain fog. That’s why it’s so vital to know how to stay hydrated properly.
How to Stay Hydrated
Proper hydration is so key to your overall health and protecting yourself from dehydration. This is crucial, because dehydration can seriously impact not just physical well-being, but mental well-being as well.
Researchers at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University studied the effects of water balance and cognitive function. They discovered that mild dehydration — as little as losing 1 percent to 2 percent of body water — can impair cognitive performance. (2) This is in contrast to the previously held belief that someone needed to have a 2 percent or greater body water deficit to see cognitive effects.
This just further proves how vital proper hydration is, and if you’re wondering how to stay hydrated, here are four key ways.
1. Drink Enough Water
While water isn’t the only factor when it comes to staying hydrated, it does start with water. Your No. 1 goal should be to start drinking half of your body weight in ounces of water a day.
This isn’t about strictly how much water you to take in, either. It’s just as much about how much fluid leaves your body as well.
In fact, according to extensive research, “under normal circumstances of diet, exercise and climate the minimal urine output for healthy subjects is about 500 ml/day.” (3) This is to help detoxify the body and even naturally prevent kidney stones, as well as just proper maintenance on the digestive system. The study recommends men drink around 3,000 milliliters of water a day and 2,200 for women — though this varies according to body weight, as I mentioned.
That’s why I recommend that if you weigh around 160 pounds, carry around a 20-ounce container of water and drink four of those a day to increase that water consumption.
2. Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
Step two is getting more fruits and vegetables in your diet — whether it’s a vegan, Paleo or keto diet meal plan (or any eating plan, for that matter) — because they have positive impacts on hydration status.
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition looked at the contribution fruits and vegetables had on hydration in children. Researchers studied the dietary records and urine samples of 442 schoolchildren and found that regular intake of fruits and vegetables relatively improved the hydration status in participants. (4)
Some of the most hydrating foods include (5):
- Bell peppers
- Citrus fruit
- Iceberg lettuce
On top of that, you know fruits and vegetables are packed with electrolytes like magnesium, calcium potassium and sodium, and you need to get those good, quality electrolytes in your system as well because they are key components on how to stay hydrated. Indeed, fruits and vegetables help combat electrolyte imbalance, which in turn aids hydration.
The University of Montana compared the effects of a plain water solution vs. a water and electrolyte solution on hydration status, body temperature and changes in drinking water during wildfire suppression. Sixteen firefighters participated, with eight drinking plain water and eight drinking the water/electrolyte additive mixture.
Researchers found that adding electrolytes to plain water decreased overall fluid consumption, concluding that “supplementing water with electrolytes can reduce the amount of fluid necessary to consume and transport during extended activity. This can minimize carrying excessive weight, possibly reducing fatigue during extended exercise.” (6)
3. Consume Sea Salt
The third thing you want to do is get all-natural sea salt — either Celtic sea salt or Himalayan salt — and sprinkle a little bit on your food as well. The benefits of sea salt all center around hydration, because when you drink water, you also need sodium and potassium.
Sea salt helps balance your water and potassium levels due to its sodium content, in addition to alkalizing the body, and research shows that sodium and potassium enhance hydration. (7)
The fourth thing you need to do to stay hydrated is actually exercise. If you want to stay properly hydrated, you want to increase circulation throughout your body, and any form of exercise can support this, whether it’s cardiovascular training, burst training, weight training or just going out and walking.
Movement increases circulation and can really improve your overall electrolyte levels and actually can help circulate and get more nutrients into your cells. (8)
So remember these four steps on how to stay hydrated, and remember how much water you should drink. If you do those four things, you’re going to be well-hydrated and that water you consume is going to be properly balanced with electrolytes as well.