Drinking enough water every day is easier said than done, but when we drink the right amount, our bodies reap benefits such as increased focus, more energy, natural weight loss, and better digestion. Staying hydrated supports immune health and can give our daily workout performance a boost and improves how we feel physically and mentally. The flip side is that drinking less than we need undermines all of those things.

To help you stay hydrated all day, try the simple trick of infusing your water with fruits and herbs for better taste and the extra benefit of absorbing vitamins and minerals. Here, we outline exactly how much water you should drink in a day, the benefits of staying hydrated, and the best-tasting and healthiest pairings to infuse your water with, and the extraordinary benefits of simply adding lemon or any other citrus to your glass.

How much water should you drink every day?

Knowing the right amount of water to drink daily depends on your weight and activity level, and can seem shocking because finishing a water bottle can seem like a big task. To make sure you're drinking the right amount, registered dietitian Nicole Osinga who created The Beet's VegStart Diet recommends using this simple formula: Multiply your weight in pounds by two-thirds (or .67) and the number you get is the number of ounces of water to drink in a day. Meaning, if you weigh 140 pounds, you should drink 120 ounces of water every day, or about 12 to 15 glasses of water per day.

Before you gasp, consider this: The closer you get to drinking the optimal amount of water, the healthier you'll feel. “Proper hydration is critical for maintaining health on a cellular level. Every cell in the human body is reliant on water for proper function," according to Dr. Robert Parker, BS, DC (Parker Health Solutions) and when our cells function properly, the rest follows.

Here are the six health benefits of staying hydrated.

1. Drinking water can improve focus and cognitive performance. 

Dehydration can negatively affect your mood and cognitive function. This is especially important for students, athletes, or anyone who needs to boost focus at work or is active. So, when you're studying for an exam it's always beneficial to keep a water bottle on your desk and hydrate before and after working or taking an exam. The same goes for athletes who live an active lifestyle or play a sport.

In a study by a group of nutritionists comparing age and cognitive function against mild dehydration, the results found that "mild dehydration produces alterations in a number of important aspects of cognitive function such as concentration, alertness, and short-term memory in children (10–12 y), young adults (18–25y) and in the oldest adults (50–82y.) As with physical functioning, mild to moderate levels of dehydration can impair performance on tasks such as short-term memory, perceptual discrimination, arithmetic ability, visuomotor tracking, and psychomotor skills."

2. Drinking water can help you lose weight by lowering total energy intake 

There's a reason why many weight loss programs advise dieters to drink more water. A study conducted by researchers at the Obesity Society measured the associations between absolute and relative increases in drinking water and weight loss over 12 months. Data was collected from 173 premenopausal overweight women (aged 25–50 years) who reported drinking water at baseline and then as they attempted to lose weight.

After twelve months, the absolute and relative increases in drinking water were "associated with significant loss of body weight and fat," concluding that drinking water may promote weight loss in overweight women who are dieting.

3. Drinking enough water can help your kidney function.

Our kidneys regulate a healthy water balance and blood pressure, as well as remove waste from our bodies, and drinking enough water supports these activities, according to a study by The National Institutes of Health.

"If the kidneys economize on water, producing more concentrated urine, there is a greater cost in energy and more wear on their tissues. This is especially likely to occur when the kidneys are under stress, for example when the diet contains excessive amounts of salt or toxic substances that need to be eliminated. Consequently, drinking enough water helps protect this vital organ," the study concludes.

4. Drinking enough water can help your athletic performance.

When a person doesn't drink enough water, they often feel tired or burnout. Symptoms of being dehydrated are mentally or physically slowing down, yawning, or even needing a midday nap, according to researchers at the US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine. "Dehydration alters our cardiovascular, thermoregulatory, central nervous system, and metabolic functions," they found. So when you perform physical activities, be sure to drink enough water before, during, and after your exercise for better performance and increased energy.

5. Drinking enough water can improve your skin.

Hydration has always been linked to clearer skin, which is why skincare labels promote cucumber and watermelon as effective ingredients because they're so water-dense. "Water intake, particularly in individuals with low initial water intake, can improve skin thickness and density as measured by sonogram, and offsets transepidermal water loss, and can improve skin hydration," according to a study by the International Journal of Cosmetic Science. When you infuse your water with these fruits (cucumber and watermelon) you add more hydration to the mix.

6. Drinking enough water can prevent you from getting headaches. 

Feel dehydrated causes headaches and tension, which can make you stressed or anxious. In one study, researchers examined increased water intake and the effect on symptoms in headache patients. Patients with a history of different types of headache, including migraine and tension headache were either assigned to a placebo or the increased water. Those who were instructed to consume an additional volume of 1.5 liters of water per day on top of what they already consumed in foods and fluids reported less pain. The increased water intake did not affect the number of headache episodes but helped reduce the headache intensity and duration. Results explain that water intake can help relieve head pains but the ability to prevent headaches is still unknown. So drinking more water appears to help against aches and pain.

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The simple trick to help you drink more water every day

To help you drink the right amount of water every day and get all the health benefits, spruce up water's bland taste and pump up the nutrients by infusing a big pitcher of water with fruits and herbs. The goal is to infuse a big pitcher of water because you want the fruits and herbs to sit longer, similar to a marinade to enhance the taste of rich, fresh ingredients. For taste, the trick is to mix sweet, acidic, and earthy flavors of fruits and herbs to get a perfect balance. For example, mixing rosemary (earthy) and grapefruit (sweet, acidic) is a delicious combination.

Popular fruit and herb pairings include:

  • Watermelon and mint
  • Grapefruit and rosemary
  • Blackberry and lemon
  • Raspberries and mango
  • Pineapple and mint
  • Cucumber and lavender
  • Strawberry, basil, and lemon
  • Pomegranate, orange, and mint

The health benefits of drinking infused water

Beyond the taste, adding certain herbs and fruits to your water can deliver various health benefits, whether it's the aroma of the ingredient, or how it affects your body when nutrients are absorbed.

The most effective way to reap the health benefits of fruit is by eating them, which you may do after you finish the water–if you want to limit waste. The water itself doesn't provide high enough levels of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals through the infusion to make a significant impact on your health, but there are specific benefits you get from the scent of certain herbs and the consumption of fruit. Find out how herbs like mint can alleviate tension, as well as how lavender can help you sleep better, plus how rosemary can boost immunity.

  • Mint is known to help alleviate headaches and boost focus. Peppermint oil is used to treat headaches and stressful tension, according to a study so adding any form of mint to your water can help ease the pain and boost cognitive function.
  • Lavender is used in many spas for its therapeutic aroma. A group of clinical researchers describe lavender as a "sedative, mild analgesic and sleep medication," according to a study.
  • Rosemary, the bitter earthy-tasting herb is also known for its therapeutic purposes but is also responsible for boosting immunity with its bioactive molecules and phytocompounds that have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, and antitumor activities, according to a study.
  • Grapefruit is a powerful citrusfruit that not everyone can eat because it has the possibility of interfering with certain medications like statins The fruit is known for its high content of vitamin C, which helps to fight off viruses, boost immunity, studies have found, and help lower inflammation, which is linked to diseases like heart disease. In addition, grapefruit contains zinc, a mineral that supports healthy immunity and stabilizes metabolic function. For all fruits that contain both vitamin C and zinc like grapefruit, blackberries, raspberries, and lemons, the compounds together may enhance the recovery time of certain illnesses, according to one study.
  • Watermelon also contains high levels of Vitamin C, helping to boost immunity. But, this fruit is most known for its high water content because the fruit is 92% water, helping you stay hydrated.
  • Raspberries and blackberries are similar because they both contain Vitamin C and zinc, protecting against illness and also may enhance one's recovery time for feeling ill. They're also high in antioxidants which help protect the body against disease.

If you want to live healthier without doing any major lifting, infuse your water and eat the fruit afterward to reap all of its health benefits. Not only is this a great tasting way to be healthier, but it's also simple to make and requires little chop time.

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