Water is one thing you don't want to skimp on in your diet.
You know you need to stay hydrated for body and mind — but why is it so important to get a certain amount?
Well, water makes up about 60 percent of the body, says New York City–based Jaclyn London, RD , head of nutrition and wellness at WW, and data from the U.S. Geological Survey , a government agency, backs that up.
Because it’s such a big part of your makeup, water is involved in a multitude of functions, says Ryan Andrews, RD , principle nutritionist and adviser at Precision Nutrition in Norwalk, Connecticut. For example, water dissolves and transports other substances around the body, assists in metabolic reactions, lubricates tissues like eyes and joints, regulates body temperature, provides minerals, and acts as a building material for cells.
So it makes sense that you need so much of it. “Without adequate hydration, you experience dehydration . It can be mild or severe, with symptoms ranging from dry mouth, headache, dizziness, and fatigue to heat stress , sunken eyes, low blood pressure, rapid heart rate, and delirium,” Andrews says.
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That’s the bad news — the good news is what adequate hydration can do for you. “Growing research suggests good hydration can help with everything from joint health and workout stamina to mood and mental focus,” London says. A review published in January 2019 in Nutrients outlines some of these findings. “And in practice, I’ve found that a little self-check-in of ‘have I had enough to drink today?’ can be a game changer for so many clients who are often mistaking hunger and thirst.” And that’s how drinking enough can factor into weight loss goals.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends that men consume 125 ounces of total fluid from beverages and food, and that women consume 91 ounces of fluid. That fluid can come from beverages including water, as well as water-rich foods like produce. However, the reality is we’re skimping on plain water. “The fluids we consume have really become a vehicle for other ingredients, like sugar and caffeine,” Andrews says. And that, unfortunately, can make plain water seem, well, too plain.
Add that to a busy lifestyle and you may forget — or not be motivated — to drink H2O. It’s like when you’ve had a nonstop day and realize in the evening that you drank barely a cup, London says. “This is especially true now that routines have been upended and our homes have become de facto schools, workplaces, and gyms. It can be so easy to get caught up in daily life and responsibilities and neglect hydration,” she adds.
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There’s even a type of water drinker called a “low drinker”: a healthy adult who has adequate water access but who doesn’t habitually drink enough, notes an article published in June 2019 in the Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism . These people aren’t dehydrated, but their bodies are actively preserving the water they do have by suppressing normal functions like urination . They also aren’t extra thirsty, so they don’t have that internal cue to drink more water. If that’s you, you might need a little help.
Luckily, there are numerous options to help you meet your water quota, from hydration trackers and smart water bottles that connect to and monitor consumption to bottles that infuse flavors into your water and handy apps. Of course, you don’t need all of them. Andrews suggests exploring those that interest you and trying the one that fits easiest into your life.
Here are 13 great, innovative options at a variety of price points that make such a basic task — drinking water — doable and a bit more fun.
1. H2OPal Converts Most Bottles Into a Smart Water Bottle
The benefit of tracking your intake is that you’ll know if you’re falling short and can adjust accordingly earlier in the day, rather than feeling pressured to glug a bunch of water that night. H2OPal is a smart hydration-tracking device that comes with a water bottle. You can also take off the tracker at the base and attach it to a water bottle you already have (as long as the base is about three inches), boosting its versatility. This will monitor how much you drink and reminds you when to take a sip through the app.
Buy H2OPal, $99, H2OPal.com .
2. HidrateSpark STEEL Keeps Drinks Cold and You On Track
A recently released smart water bottle from HidrateSpark is an honoree in the 2021 CES Innovation Awards . This battery-powered, double-walled, vacuum-insulated stainless steel version comes in two sizes (17 or 21 ounces) and two sip options (straw or chug lids). “I really like a simple stainless steel water bottle that marks your progress, like HidrateSpark. These are simple and nonintrusive, and don’t contribute to the burden of plastic pollution,” says Andrews. The program calculates your hydration needs and goals (taking factors like exercise, your physiology, and the weather into account), and the bottle glows when you need to take a sip. Genius.
Buy HidrateSpark STEEL (17-ounce bottle), $59.99, HidrateSpark.com .
3. WaterMinder App Keeps Reminders Simple
Easy to use, this H2O-tracking app reminds you to take a break and drink. After sipping, tap the button and it will record how much you’ve consumed and show you how close you are to your daily goal, via an image of a person (you!) that “fills up” with water. What’s also interesting is that you can see the history of your water intake, helping you connect how you feel that day (Headachy? Sluggish?) with how much water you did (or didn’t) drink. It is rated 4.8 on the App Store and 4.3 on Google Play .
Buy WaterMinder, $4.99, WaterMinder.com .
4. Madefor Works on Your Habits, so Sipping Becomes Automatic
Madefor is a subscription service that takes a deep science-backed dive into habit formation to help you change your lifestyle for good. The “Introductions Kit” is geared toward setting you up to tackle a seven-day hydration challenge (complete with a booklet that reveals the research behind it all) and comes with a glass water bottle wrapped in a silicone sleeve. Each time you drink a bottle during the day, you take off a bead for an old-school — but still effective — way to measure progress.
Buy Madefor (Introductions Kit), $48, GetMadefor.com .
5. LifeFuels Effortlessly Adds Nutrients and Flavor to Water
If plain water is just too plain for you, the bottle from LifeFuels has built-in flavor pods in the bottom. You set the flavor and how much should be added to the water, and then you’ll get a tasty beverage at the push of a button. Each pod can be recycled through the company's program, alleviating the potential environmental burden of one-time-use plastic. Flavor and nutrient pods are geared toward goals. For instance, the fruit-flavored “Defend Pack” pods contain multivitamins, antioxidants , and immune-supporting nutrients vitamin C and zinc . The price below reflects the bottle and three flavor pods (covering 90 beverages). A flavor pod subscription costs up to $29 per month.
Buy LifeFuels, $99.99, LifeFuels.com .
6. LARQ Self-Cleaning Bottle Gives Pure Water in Every Sip
To drink clean water wherever you are, the LARQ Bottle is built with UV-C LED light, which the company says eliminates nearly 100 percent of contaminants from water. Every two hours, the bottle turns on that self-cleaning function, making its contents safer and tastier. Insulated, it keeps water cold for 24 hours or hot for 12 hours. It is a bit heavy, so if you prefer a lighter lift, the company also offers a single-walled, self-cleaning stainless steel bottle; it doesn’t keep beverages at a desired temperature but may be better if you have an on-the-go lifestyle.
Buy LARQ Bottle (17-ounce bottle), $95, LiveLARQ.com .
7. Uncommon Goods Bluetooth Speaker and Water Bottle Brings the Entertainment
Now here’s a way to motivate yourself to hydrate right while you’re doing your favorite activities, including exercising, hanging out at a park, heading to the beach, or taking a camping trip. The stainless steel and plastic water bottle has a built-in Bluetooth speaker that you can use to listen to music or take calls on (because why not?). Users love the sound quality, too.
Buy Uncommon Goods Bluetooth Speaker and Water Bottle, $35, UncommonGoods.com .
8. Que Collapsible Bottle Is Perfect for Travel
One of the perks of this water bottle is that, fully extended, it has a capacity of 20 ounces. The coil design allows the bottle to collapse to hold just 12 ounces and stand at 6.8 inches. That’s ideal for when you travel, are on the move, or need to conserve space, and it’s easy to store in your cabinets. Unlike many reusable bottles, its silicone material makes it dishwasher-safe.
Buy Que Collapsible Water Bottle (20 ounces), $24.95; QueBottle.com .
9. Hydro Coach PRO Tracks Your Intake of Various Fluids
This app sets itself apart because it allows you to enter other beverages (think coffee , tea, smoothies) so you know how much overall fluid you’re drinking, not just water. There is a basic free Hydro Coach app , but the pro version allows you to set goals for different types of drinks and how much they should be contributing to your overall intake. Right now, Hydro Coach PRO is only available on Google Play (and syncs with Google Fit, Samsung Health, and Fitbit), but the company says it will soon be released to iOS. It is rated 4.7 on Google Play.
Buy Hydro Coach PRO, $4.99, Google Play .
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10. Savvy Infusion Water Bottle Puts Spa Water in Your Hands
Well priced, this water bottle has an infuser in the middle. You can pack fruits (like citrus slices and berries ), veggies (cucumbers), or herbs (mint) inside, which will pump up your plain water with flavor. It’s way more convenient than filling up an entire pitcher for your fridge. To keep things interesting, create new combinations every day. If you’re not a water drinker, this may be the first time you’ll actually be stoked to sip.
Buy Savvy Infusion Water Bottle (24 ounces), $16.95, Amazon.com .
11. Wetsleeve Keeps You Hydrated for Long Outdoor Workouts
Are you heading out for a hike or long walk, or are you perhaps cycling the roads or training for a race? The insulated 12-ounce Wetsleeve can be worn on your arm and sipped from effortlessly for any of these activities and more. Small pockets allow you to carry your keys. And, no, you don’t have to be an athlete to appreciate the relief that comes from not having to carry a water bottle when you’re out — this is suitable for anyone.
Buy Wetsleeve, $39, WetSleeve.com .
12. Ulla Smart Hydration Reminder Sets a Visual Cue to Drink Up
If you’re the type who already has a bunch of water bottles, then you can outfit your favorites with the Ulla, which attaches to any water bottle, no matter its size or what it’s made of. Every time you should sip, the Ulla blinks. It’s also available in a variety of cute colors and cheeky designs (like “Don’t be a cactus”).
Buy Ulla Smart Hydration Reminder, $30, Ulla.io .
13. Uncommon Goods Drink More Water Bottle Offers Motivational Messages
This glass water bottle is perfect if you like gentle reminders (and cheerleading) for hitting your hydration needs. Rather than tracking the ounces you’re drinking, you’ll pace yourself by time. Each bottle holds 16 ounces. The idea is to start off by drinking one twice per day. Bonus: It looks good on your desk, too.
Buy Uncommon Goods Drink More Water Bottle, $15, uncommongoods.com .
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