5 Simple Ways to Get in More WaterArticle posted in: Diet & Nutrition
On the South Beach Diet, we advocate drinking at least half of your body weight in ounces of fluid each day. We make this recommendation for many reasons. Water flushes your body of toxins, carries nutrients and oxygen to your cells, aids digestion, normalizes blood pressure, cushions joints and helps your body maintain its electrolyte balance. Another reason we love water (and so should you) is that it makes weight loss possible… which is the ultimate reason to drink more water!
Case in point: A 2016 study, published in the Journal of Nutrition and Dietetics, suggests drinking water before meals and substituting water for sweetened beverages can reduce calorie intake. In fact, according to Harvard Health, increasing plain water consumption by one to three cups a day could decrease calorie intake by 68 to 205 calories per day.
So how do you stick to water, water and more water when there are so many drink options out there?
Try these five clever ideas for drinking more water:
1. Ice, Ice Baby
There’s nothing more refreshing than an ice-cold glass of water. And if ice-cold is the only way you can drink H2O, load up on the ice. Colder fluids leave the stomach more quickly than warmer ones, making cold agua ideal for post-workout rehydration. Cold water can also help cool us from the inside during hot weather, according to Columbia University. As a bonus benefit, cold water may help you burn a few extra calories because your body has to work harder to maintain its core temperature.
2. Don’t Leave Home Without It
Whether you’re off to work, out running errands or going to the gym, having a water bottle by your side serves as a constant reminder to drink and stay hydrated. It’s very helpful if that bottle has ounce and/or cup markings so you can track your progress throughout the day. If the water just sits in your car cup holder, set an alarm on your phone. Every 20 minutes, have a drink. Eventually, you won’t need the alarm and you’ll just drink. Bottle-type tip: To avoid swallowing excess air while you drink (which will make you bloated), choose a bottle without a straw.
3. Pick a Flavor
Cucumber. Lemons. Limes. Grapefruit. Mint. Ginger. Any combination thereof. Citrus juices, vegetables and herbs are free foods on the South Beach Diet, so load up your water with your favorite flavorful things. The longer the ingredients sit in the glass, the stronger the flavor, but don’t infuse longer than 12 hours. Refrigerated, flavored varieties last about three to four days in the fridge. Flavored, room-temperature water should be consumed the day it was made, according to Living Well Nutrition Center. If you get a bitter flavor in your beverage, remove the rind or skin from your fruits and veggies and use only the flesh.
4. Tea Time
While coffee and alcohol are diuretics, Harvard Health reported in a 2015 article that both types of beverages still attribute to your daily overall fluid consumption. Now don’t get too excited…the calories in one fruity cocktail or sugary coffee can still derail your day. The next best beverage solution is to drink tea—caffeinated or decaffeinated—as long as you hold the sugar. Some types of teas may help lower cholesterol and boost metabolism (green tea), others help relieve stress (chamomile or peppermint), and still more (black tea) contain antioxidants that decrease the rate of heart attack, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
5. Eat Your Water
In addition to the fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that come standard, fruits and vegetables are virtually all water. According to Berkeley Wellness, cucumbers are 96.7% water; tomatoes are 94.5%; grapefruit and cantaloupe are both 90%. Enjoy a cucumber and tomato salad before your meal and you’ve hydrated, given your body mega doses of vitamins and minerals and filled up on fiber. A note about watermelon: Even though watermelon lives up to its name and is 92% H2O, enjoy this fruit in moderation. Watermelon scores a 72 on the glycemic index and can cause blood sugar to spike.