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As we head into the warmer months, it’s a good time to recommit yourself to staying hydrated and happy. As you probably know by now, your body needs to stay hydrated to keep all your organs functioning, your body temperature regulated and to keep your mind running at peak performance. Dehydration is no joke — and can be a surefire way to disrupt your day-to-day life and leave you feeling awful.
“Dehydration is very common, and [it leads] to many symptoms, including fatigue, constipation and decreased concentration,” Dr. Nancy Rahnama, physician nutrition medical specialist and board-certified internist, tells SheKnows.
Rahnama explains that recommended daily water intake varies depending on many factors, such as a person’s weight, environment, gut function, level of physical activity and medications they take. But as a general rule, she suggests starting off with 64 ounces (eight cups) of water per day.
We all know that we should diligently be drinking enough water each day, but there’s just one problem: Plain, flat water simply isn’t appealing to a lot of us. Luckily, there are plenty of healthy beverage options that count toward our daily water intake, and drinking them won’t feel like quite as much of a chore.
“Water is considered a liquid beverage without caffeine, alcohol or sugar content,” Rahnama explains.
If you don’t love flat water or you simply want some more variety when you hydrate, try drinking these five beverages. Eight ounces of each is equivalent to eight ounces of regular water and they each contain either zero or very few calories.
A version of this story was published June 2018.
Flavored Sparkling Water
If you'd normally reach for a soda to quench your thirst, we have a better (but still fizzy) option for you.
Suzanne Dixon, a registered dietitian with The Mesothelioma Center, tells SheKnows that she recommends squeezing lemon or lime into sparkling water.
Not only will this give you the flavor-plus-fizz combo you crave from soda, but it's not full of sugar and empty calories and has the added bonus of some vitamin C from the citrus fruit.
There are also plenty of no-added-sugar flavored seltzer waters to choose from — or for the less adventurous, there's always plain.
Ice or hot herbal tea is another tasty, healthy way to get your daily water intake. Dixon tells SheKnows that her personal favorite is hibiscus tea. "I love the tangy, slightly sour flavor and it's loaded with antioxidants and other healthy nutrients," she says.
Water With a Cinnamon Stick
Love cinnamon? Here's a great way to enjoy the flavor and the hydration at the same time. Rahnama recommends adding a cinnamon stick to boiled water and then allowing it to cool. "[It] can make the water also more palatable and is a method to ensure adequate water intake in the Middle East, where temperatures are very high," she explains.
Plus, it makes your house (or office) smell great.
Dixon recommends green tea, either hot or over ice. As the summer months approach, ice green tea certainly sounds like a refreshing way to get our daily water intake.
If you're not a fan of bubbles in your water but still want something a little different than plain tap water, try infusing the water with fruit and/or herbs. The combinations are endless, but here are a few of our favorites, including passion fruit, ginger and orange and strawberry-basil.
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