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As creatures whose bodies are composed of 55-60% water, staying hydrated is vital to our health, especially during the warmer months of summer. Experts say that if you’re thirsty, you’re already mildly dehydrated, so grab yourself a tall glass of water and let’s talk about how you’re about to bless your body. 

Feeling Functional: Drinking enough water is crucial to our body’s systems running smoothly. Water regulates body temperature, forms saliva, acts as a shock absorber for our brains and spinal cords, delivers nutrients to our cells, helps flush out waste, keeps our joints lubricated, prevents infections, and more! 

Bonus Benefits: A healthy body isn’t the only benefit to staying properly hydrated. Other perks include:

  • Better Sleep– Being chronically dehydrated can mess with the chemicals in our bodies, such as amino acids which help produce melatonin, and that can throw off our whole sleep rhythm. Hydration insomnia? Yep, it’s a thing. 
  • Better Cognitive Function– According to a study published in the Cambridge University Press, “Severe dehydration has been shown to cause cognitive deficits such as short-term memory and visual perceptual abilities…, whereas water consumption can improve cognitive performance, particularly visual attention…”
  • Better Mood– Water is not only vital to us physically, it’s also important to our mental health. Dehydration can increase our risk of anxiety, depression, or other difficult mental challenges.

The Right Stuff: So how much water is enough? According to The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, an adequate daily fluid intake is:

  • About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day for men
  • About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women

Feeling worried about how to up your daily water intake? Remember that all that liquid doesn’t have to come from plain water! There are lots of creative ways to hydrate without drinking just water: Add fruits or veggies and ice to the water, blend up a healthy smoothie, order a broth-based soup with lunch, or sip on a cup of tea. But also be mindful that not all liquids are created equal. Sugary drinks, while super tempting, can be more harmful to our bodies than they’re worth.

So top off your water bottle! (We’ll wait…) And remember that hydration is a vital, yet simple way to optimize your health this summer.