How does hydration (and dehydration) work? How does it affect the brain and body? Those are just a few of the topics we covered this week on the Brain Power Blog in Hydration and the Brain (Part 1): How Water Affects Your Brain.
Information is power. But without action, data is like having a refrigerator full of delicious foods… but no follow-through on actually preparing the meal!
“I’m going to drink at least 64 oz of water every day for the rest of my life and never drink anything but water ever again!” Whoa, there, cowboy. Lifelong goals are noble. But break down your actual goal (drink more water) into doable tasks.
If you struggle with drinking enough water, you’re not alone. Many Americans fail to get sufficient water intake in their daily lives. But like most habits, drinking (or not drinking) water is just a matter of making small, manageable realistic changes.
After all, you cannot master your life in a day. But you can master today, then keep doing that daily.
Tip 1: Make Hydration Convenient
Treat yourself to the water bottle you will use. Don’t worry about what anyone else uses or what’s trendy. The best water bottle is the one you’ll use. Like a straw? Great! Find a water bottle with a straw. Prefer the tilt method? Awesome. Like it ice-cold? Find an insulated water bottle that keeps it cool all day long.
Figure out what you like in a water delivery method, then buy it. But much like that refrigerator of ingredients, the shiny new water bottle is irrelevant if you don’t use it. Get in the habit of carrying it with you. The more often you have water convenient and easy to grab, the more prone you are to drinking it.
If you get parched while driving, you’ll likely reach for the water bottle instead of pulling into a drive-through for a coffee or soft drink.
If water is nearby, you’ll gravitate towards it until you’ve developed a habit and you cannot remember how you ever got along without it!
Tip 2: Alternate Water with Other Choices
Love coffee? No problem… just drink a glass of water as that pot is brewing. Want a glass of wine or beer with dinner? Sounds great! Have a glass of water sitting beside it. Drink water with your meals or snacks instead of reaching for a soft drink.
If you need to, make a rule for yourself: one glass of water for every non-water beverage you consume. Try a glass of water before reaching for food. Sometimes you perceive hunger when your body is actually just thirsty.
Tip 3: Set Reminders to Prevent Dehydration
We use our phones for everything, from tracking our sleep to counting our steps to communicating with the world around us. It’s a simple thing to add reminders throughout the day on your phone to drink a glass of water. Remember, when you’re shifting habits, sometimes reminding yourself about what you’re doing (and why!) is an important part of keeping on track.
Tip 4: Eat Your Water
No, I’m not encouraging you to break your teeth chomping on ice all day long. There are plenty of fruits and vegetables with high water content. Reach for one of these as a snack or incorporate them into a daily meal to boost your water intake:
- Green Pepper
Tip 5: Make Water Intake Tasty
If you are in the habit of rarely ever drinking actual water, the taste of it may seem… boring. But who says you have to drink “boring water?” There are lots of ways to incorporate fun and flavor, encouraging you to drink more water.
- Carbonate. Love bubbles? Drink carbonated water. It’s no different in hydration than still water. You can buy carbonated water at the store or use an at-home device to add your own carbonation.
- Natural Flavors. One of the best ways to boost the taste of water is with natural flavors, such as lemon or mint. Not a fan? Find a fruit you love and incorporate the flavor. Feel like you’re in a fancy hotel every day by adding fruit to your drink, such as cucumber or strawberry (or both!). If you fill a container the night before with water and chosen fruit, the essence of the flavor will steep into the water. Best of all, you can change the flavors regularly to prevent boredom.
- Additives. Drink additives can add flavor without sugar. But be careful with artificial products. While they boost the flavor and still count as water, don’t go overboard. As you get more accustomed to water, begin dialing back the artificial additives.
- Vitamins. You can always use your water as a vehicle to take your daily vitamins and brain boosting supplements, incorporating great, natural flavor while meeting your nutritional requirements.
- Tea. Yes, unsweetened tea, whether hot or cold, still counts towards your daily water intake. Plus, tea is a superfood that provides antioxidants and all sorts of goodness to your body.
Using a tool such as the Vortex Mixer Bottle with your additives ensures a consistent, smooth and pleasant texture every time.
Hydration for Life
Hydration isn’t hard, but it does take effort if you’re not in the habit of drinking water. The effort is worth it, though! Not only will you reap the mind and body benefits of proper hydration. You may also find yourself saving money while consuming fewer unknown calories (drinks can contain lots of calories with little to show in fullness or nutrition)! While those aren’t primary reasons to increase your water intake, little unexpected perks are never a bad thing.
Improve your mind, improve your body, all through the simple act of increasing your water intake.