Mint Water
You can be excited about drinking more water if you make it look like a cocktail. Here, lime slices, some fresh mint, and a fancy glass make plain old water into something special.



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KAREN HOCHMAN is Editorial Director of THE NIBBLE.



January 2008

Main Nibbles / Beverages / Waters


The Health Benefits Of Water

The Easiest Health Boost You Can Make: Drink More Water


Hydration Facts & Tips For Drinking More Water Every Day


CAPSULE REPORT: Few of us drink the amount of water we should, even though it will make us look younger and slimmer on the outside (when you fill up on water, you don’t fill up on caloric foods and beverages), and keep us fine-tuned on the inside. Here, we provide the rationale, the tips, and fun ways to make drinking water less of a chore. We’ve also provided environmentally-friendly alternatives, since we don’t like all of that ugly plastic bottle landfill, either.

The human body, which is made up of between 55% and 75% water,* needs a constant infusion of water for almost every cell to function properly. And the body is constantly losing water. Our lungs expel between two and four cups of water each day through normal breathing; another two cups can be expelled through general (non-exercise) perspiration and a cup of water just through sweaty feet. Every trip to the bathroom is a cup of water. If you perspire, you expel about two cups of water (which doesn’t include exercise-induced perspiration).

*Interestingly, lean people are composed of a larger percentage, since muscle holds more water than fat.


In the big picture, water helps the body regulate temperature, transport of oxygen to cells and maintain muscle tone. Dehydration—as little as 2% loss of body fluid—can cause physical and mental fatigue. Adequate hydration keeps joints lubricated, helps prevent constipation, can prevent and lessen the severity of colds and flu and can help lessen the chance of kidney stones. It hydrates the skin and eyes (the cornea is 80% water). Drinking more water can actually help people who retain fluids shed their excess water weight. When one’s water levels are low, the body, thinking there’s a water shortage, starts to “hoard” water, storing it in cells.

How Much Water Should You Drink

  • You really do need to drink least eight 8-ounce servings of water each day. Yes, that’s 64 ounces, or a half-gallon a day. If the weather is hot, or you are active physically or actively cutting back on food, or intaking excessive alcohol (at a wine tasting, for example), you need even more water you need to replenish lost fluids. It may sound like a lot, but we have tips below to make it easier. When you see how much better your skin looks, and how much more energy you have, you’ll wonder why you didn’t begin this regimen years ago.
  • Never wait until you're thirsty to drink water. By the time you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated—you’ve probably already lost two or more cups of your total body water composition. Dieters, especially, need to be wary of this. When you’re not getting the normal amount of water through your food (which does not count toward the 64-ounce total), and don’t offset the loss with extra water, you’ll feel the dehydration first as “dry mouth.” It takes a while to replenish water in your system—a quick two glasses of water won’t do it.
  • Train children early. Set a good example, and drink water together. See our tips below on how to make drinking more water more fun. Make sure children drink enough water when they’re active, and pack bottled water in a lunch boxes instead of juice or other caloric beverages (this can also help prevent childhood obesity).

When Should You Drink Water?

  • Wake up and drink the water. Your body loses water while you sleep, so drink a glass before you go to sleep, and again when you wake up. Try drinking a cup before or after you brush your teeth in the morning and at night. Then, there are only six more cups to go!
  • Drink water throughout the day. See our tips below on how to work this into your busy schedule.
  • When it’s hot. Aim for cool water, which is absorbed much more quickly than warm fluids and may help to cool off an overheated body.
  • Drink as you exercise. When you exercise, carry a water bottle and drink water throughout the exercise period. One needs to drink two cups of water for each pound lost to perspiration.
  • Drink when you’re ill. Even though you don’t feel like it, you especially need water when you’re not eating because you’re under the weather. You’ll dehydrate and feel much worse. Common colds and the flu can also lead to dehydration. Inertia sets in, even with the water bottle next to you. A family member may have to bring you a glass each hour, and make sure that you drink it.

Water GlassesTip: Water tastes better in an exciting glass.


  • The only thing that really substitutes for water—in part—is herbal tea, which is infused water. You can’t substitute beverages with caffeine, like coffee and tea; even decaf has 6% caffeine. Caffeine (as well as alcohol) act as diuretics and can cause a net water loss. In order to net out, we drink one glass of water per unit of alcohol.
  • Sports drinks may contribute to the extra water required during exercise, but they include calories that the body doesn’t need. Many professionals still prefer cool water.
  • Diluted fruit juice, nonfat milk and caffeine-free diet soft drinks do have a good amount of water content, but not enough to fill in for the 64 ounces you need.


  • Know what a cup is. There are two cups in a pint (16-ounce) bottle, four cups in a quart (32-ounce bottle). If you can drink two quarts of seltzer a day, you’re set!
  • Prioritize. Don’t allow yourself that a.m. cup of coffee or tea until you’ve had your cup of water. If you take vitamins or medicine, swallow an extra cup at the same time.
  • Test temperatures. Many people prefer water when it is ice cold. If you don’t like the flavor of water, drink it colder.
  • Be prepared. Carry a bottle of water with you at all times. We found a flask-shaped bottle from Sei spring water that we refill—it easily fits in a man’s pocket or in a briefcase (just be sure to cap it tightly).
  • At work. Keep a bottle of water in front of you, on your desk. Since it can ultimately fade into the background, set reminders (see next tip). If you run meetings, set big pitchers of ice water on the table instead of soft drinks and coffee. Add fresh fruit to the water—lemons, limes, oranges, whole strawberries, fresh mint. It’s so delicious, people will look forward to your meetings.
  • Set reminders. Hourly or half-hourly, have some water. If you prefer, get up and go to the water cooler or drinking fountain. This also ensures that you stretch your legs. Every time you pass the drinking fountain, dash over for a quick sip.
  • Have a water tasting. You can do this alone, or invite your family and friends. All waters do not taste the same. Buy one of everything on the shelf and find your favorite waters—whether for everyday or special occasions. For kids, waters with child-theme packaging and flavored waters can be very attractive. Hint infused water was started by a mom who was shocked at the sugar tally of all the “wholesome” juices her kids drank.

Sei Water
This flat flask bottle from Sei is
available in several sizes and will fit anywhere from a pocket to a briefcase.

  • Splurge. Buy on your favorite water, but check out price clubs to see if there’s an acceptable version for a lot less money.
  • Environment-Friendly Drinking. We’re concerned about environmental problems, too. Drinking more doesn’t mean buying more plastic. (1) Install a carbon filter on your kitchen sink so you can refill a thermos or plastic bottle. (2) Get a recyclable plastic water bottle with a built-in filter, like the Better Water Biodegradable Bottle & Water Filter. One plastic bottle is good for 99 bottles of filtered water. (3) If you prefer seltzer, buy a machine that makes it, instead of generating plastic empties. We love the Soda Club Penguin, a glamorous model, but the company also makes an economy-priced version so you can have one at home and one at work. 

How To Make Drinking Water Fun

  • Add glamour. Take the ice bucket out of the closet. Use your best glasses and stemware. Go out and buy the glasses that excite you, whether that means a fabulous beer stein, great Champagne flutes or jewel-color, faceted goblets. Do the same for the kids: Let them pick out glasses or mugs that they love, and designate them FOR WATER ONLY.
  • Add jazzy ice cubes. Reusable ice cubes come in arresting options, from dayglo to LED flashing lights. Plastic and rubber ice cube trays can be found in the novelty theme of your choice, so you can make ice stars and hearts, penguins and palm trees. You can add a dab of food color to your homemade ice cubes and toss in mint leaves, herbs and berries, too.
  • Club Soda Cocktails. Have two “drinks” before dinner each evening: regular or flavored club soda garnished with citrus, cucumber, mint, rosemary, bitters or other flavorings of your choice. Don’t start dinner until you’ve finished both cocktails. Another benefit to this old dieter’s trick is that the water fills you up and you’ll eat less at dinner. You can also become a “water mixologist,” playing with different fresh herbs to flavor your water.

Heart Ice Cube Tray
Hearts, stars, penguins...dozens of shapes of ice cubes will add fun to each glass of water. Click here for more information.

Try these activities:

  • Designate water buddies. Do you chat or IM with your mother every day? Your BFF? Your boyfriend out of state? Make a pact: Don’t start the conversation without a glass of water at hand, and don’t finish it until the water is gone.
  • Competitive Commercial Break Chugging. If you’re glued to the T.V. set each evening, become a water-chugging couch potato. Start the show with a quart of water or club soda, and try to drink a cup during each commercial break. Work your way up—it may take you three hours of TV-watching to drink that quart at first.
  • E-mail Chugging. A variation of the preceding “sport.” Many of us spend so much time reading email. Just take three big sips of water before opening each email, and you just might get halfway through those eight glasses.

Imagine if water turned out to be a healthy benefit of reading email...How happy (and healthy) we’d all be!

Some of the information in the first two sections was provided by the Nutrition Information Center at The Rockefeller University and the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA).

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