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With summer heat here, staying hydrated is crucial. Even without hot and dry conditions, bodies need plenty of fluids to flush toxins from vital organs and keep ear, nose, and throat tissue moist. Any liquids will do, but swapping water for sugary soda or juice will cut down on calories, preservatives, and all kinds of other things. Before you sweat all of your body’s fluids away, increase your water intake with a few tips.
The taste, or lack of taste, of water is one of the top complaints from people who avoid drinking the clear liquid. Adding flavor to water is simple and can be done with natural ingredients. Take a pitcher of water (tap, bottled, whatever you prefer) and add slices of lemon, lime, or cucumber. For a unique twist, try adding chunks of watermelon, cut blueberries, or sliced strawberries. Herbs provide excellent flavor as well: mint, rosemary, lemongrass, and parsley can all add fresh tastes. Muddling the herbs in the pitcher can enhance the flavor, or you can use a French press to add the taste without drinking full leaves.
It is best to leave the fruits or herbs in the water for at least four hours to allow the flavors to infuse the water, but avoid leaving the mixture for more than a couple of days, or it will turn cloudy. For a more delayed flavor, freeze herbs, berries, or pieces of fruit into ice cubes (place a leave, berry, or fruit piece in each compartment of an ice cube tray, add water, and freeze) and add them to your water.
Once you’ve found a flavor you love, the trick is to drink lots of it. To help keep up with the suggested eight-cup intake, take a clear water bottle and mark off lines with times that tell you when you should be reaching each one. For example, say you plan to drink your eight cups over a span of 16 hours. That’s a half-cup per hour. Using a half-cup measuring cup, fill your clear water bottle in half-cup increments, marking the water level after each addition with a Sharpie. Label each line with the time you plan to drink to that line, starting at the top and getting later as you reach the bottom. When it’s four o’clock, make sure you’ve reached the four o’clock line on your water bottle and you’ll be well on your way to reaching your water drinking goal.
While some people prefer their drinks at room temperature, many would prefer ice water. That may seem impossible as you’re carrying your water bottle around with you all day, but you can have chilled aqua with you at all time with a little preparation. Fill your water bottle half or three-quarters full and stick it in the freezer the night before you’ll need it. Remove the bottle from the freezer in the morning and top it off with cold water. The giant clump of ice in the bottle will slowly melt throughout the day to keep you drinking icy fluids all day.
This summer, let’s all raise a glass of water to keeping hydrated.