Water is really important. Good hydration is essential for every major body function and aspect of your health. Water allows your body to regulate its temperature, flush wastes, prevent constipation, lubricate joints, and deliver nutrition to cells. It’s central to brain, muscle, and skin health. The liver and kidneys depend on it to detoxify the body. It facilitates healthy weight management. Hydration is a pillar of basic human performance.

Dehydration, meanwhile, can be extremely detrimental. Your body naturally loses water through breathing, exercise, urination, and waste removal. When you aren’t consuming sufficient water to replace the outgoing water, problems arise. At even one percent dehydration, you will begin to feel thirsty. Subsequent symptoms can include poor digestion and constipation, dizziness, foggy concentration, dry mouth, fatigue, and headaches. Headaches due to dehydration may also indicate increased bodily toxicity. Prolonged dehydration can crystalize the salts and minerals found in urine, potentially leading to painful kidney stones.

With that in mind, here are some recommendations for staying hydrated.

5 Tips For Good Hydration

  • Make water itself a priority. Fruits, vegetables, and herbal teas are a big part of hydration, but regularly drinking pure water is still the easiest and most important step you can take. Individual needs vary, but general guidelines recommend approximately 64 ounces of water per day for adults. Your physical activity, age, medical conditions, weight, and other factors all play a role in determining your optimal personal daily water intake. Check out this handy hydration calculator for an estimate.
  • Drink two to three glasses when you wake up to rehydrate after sleeping. Starting your day with hydration is always wise and gets you in the mindset of routinely sipping all day. Sipping hot lemon water in the morning has the added benefit of jump-starting your digestion.
  • Flavor your water. Many people find water too bland, which becomes an excuse not to drink enough of it. Don’t fall into this trap. If need be, add some lemonlime, or a little fruit juice to your water if it helps make it more palatable. You can also add flavored vitamin C, or vitamin and mineral packets to your water, which can help you get the nutrition you need each day. Just make sure to avoid formulas with added sugars.
  • Emphasize hydrating foods. Fresh fruits, raw veggies, salads, and brothy soups are all hydrating and highly nutritious foods. Be sure to eat lots of fresh, natural foods. As always, avoid highly processed, sugary, and refined junk foods whenever possible.
  • Keep it pure. Remember to choose pure water: pollution and environmental contaminants can (and do) show up in our water supply, so filter your drinking water if you can. Since it’s best to avoid plastics and BPA, skip the bottled water and invest instead in a reusable stainless steel water bottle.

It’s simple: Hydration helps keep you healthy. It’s one of the easiest (but most overlooked) elements of well-being. Make sure you get the water you need.