By Dr. Willie T. Ong
1. Drink water when you wake up. Your body loses water while you sleep, so drink a glass before you go to sleep, and another glass when you wake up. You are naturally thirsty or dehydrated in the morning. Drinking water in the morning helps flush out the toxins that have accumulated all night.
2. Drink 8 to 12 glasses a day. According to the Mayo Clinic, a 120-pound individual needs 8 cups of water a day, while a 190-pound person would require 12 cups daily. Dr. Robert Tanchanco says that we should monitor our urine color and keep it on the light side. However, drink only a maximum of 16 glasses a day, and not more.
3. Drink little by little throughout the day. It is preferable to sip water throughout the day rather than to drink two glasses all at once. This will lessen the stress on the heart (especially if you have heart disease) and give your body more time to absorb it.
4. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink water. By the time you feel thirsty, you’re probably already 2 glasses below your normal water needs. Elderly people are also less sensitive to the body’s need for water.
5. Drink water, not soft drinks, alcohol or coffee. Some experts believe that tea, sodas and coffee can be potentially dehydrating. Moreover, the high phosphorus and sugar content in cola drinks can lead to conditions like osteoporosis and diabetes. One study shows that adults who drank six cups of coffee daily experienced mild dehydration. Drinking alcohol is much worse because it actually dehydrates you by making you urinate a lot.
6. Train children to drink water. Set a good example to your kids and drink water together. Make sure that children drink enough water when they’re active. Pack a large bottled water in their lunch box.
7. Drink more when it’s hot. People living in hot climates like the Philippines need to drink more water. They are more prone to develop kidney stones compared to those living in cooler regions.
8. Drink more as you exercise. When you exercise, you need to drink more water to compensate for fluid loss. Go for an extra 500 ml of water for a 30-minute to 1-hour exercise. Eating a banana also helps keep your potassium up.
9. Drink more when you’re sick. Even though you don’t feel like it, you really need to drink more water to help your body recover from various infections. If you’re dehydrated, you’ll feel much worse.
10. Drink more if you’re pregnant. Women who are expecting or breast-feeding need additional fluids to stay hydrated. The Institute of Medicine recommends that pregnant women drink 10 cups of fluids daily and women who breast-feed take in about 13 cups of fluids a day.