Make water your beverage of choice

Most of us know that it is important to stay hydrated, but water also provides many health benefits for our bodies.

A young woman drinking water outside on a sunny day.
Photo: Flickr.

Nothing quenches thirst better than a cold glass of water, especially during the warm days of summer.  Water is a great beverage of choice because it keeps your body hydrated, is easy to acquire, relatively inexpensive and is also free of calories.

Why is water so good for our bodies? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides the following information: 

Water helps your body:

  • Keep your temperature normal
  • Lubricate and cushion joints
  • Protect your spinal cord and other sensitive tissues
  • Get rid of wastes through urination, perspiration and bowel movements

How do you know if you are drinking enough water? The USDA’s Choose My Plate recommends that you let your thirst be your guide. Although water is an important nutrient, everyone’s needs are different based on various factors such as diet, activity level and age. However, if you are physically active; live, work or play in a hot environment; or are an older adult, you may want to increase your water intake to help prevent dehydration. 

The CDC also provides the following tips for increasing your water intake:

  • Carry a water bottle for easy access when you are at work or running errands.
  • Freeze some freezer-safe water bottles. Take one with you for ice-cold water all day long.
  • Choose water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages. This can also help with weight management. Substituting water for one 20-ounce sugar sweetened soda will save you about 240 calories. For example, during the school day students should have access to drinking water, giving them a healthy alternative to sugar-sweetened beverages.
  • Choose water when eating out. Generally, you will save money and reduce calories.
  • Add a wedge of lime or lemon to your water. This can help improve the taste and help you drink more water than you usually do.

Based on research and regulatory requirements for tap water, most Americans have access to clean, safe drinking water. However, if you are concerned about the safety of your tap water, Michigan State University Extension recommends contacting your local health department.  For a small fee, most county health departments offer water sample kits that can be sent to a lab for analysis. The United States Environmental Protection Agency  (EPA) also provides information and resources relative to safe groundwater and drinking water, as well as the latest research regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and its effect on water.  

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