We’ve all heard water is an important part of staying healthy. But did you know every cell in your body needs water to function? Water supports digestion, lubricates your joints and regulates your body temperature.

You lose water through normal body functions and it needs to be replaced every day. Usually six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day will do the trick (depending on factors like age, health and exercise habits).

Staying hydrated takes more effort in the summer months since warmer weather leads to increased activity. That’s why it’s important to remember these tips:

  • Drink before you feel thirsty
  • Drink plenty of water during your outdoor activity
  • Drink several more glasses after you’re done

Plain water is always a good choice, but you can also stay hydrated with beverages like milk and juice. Some fruits and vegetables, including celery, tomatoes, oranges and melons, are also good sources of water.

Although sweetened beverages contain water, they aren’t the best choice because the extra sugar and calories often lead to weight gain. You should also limit alcohol and caffeinated drinks, such as coffee and tea. These drinks are diuretics and actually cause the body to lose water.

If you participate in intense physical activity, sports drinks (which contain sodium, electrolytes and some sugar) can be a good option. But if you’re exercising for less than an hour in moderate temperatures, water should be just fine.

Try adding these tips to your routine to stay hydrated throughout the day:

  • Carry a water bottle with you for easy access
  • Store a few full water bottles in the freezer for cold water all day long
  • Choose water instead of other beverages when you dine out
  • Add a wedge of lime or lemon to your water for extra flavor

Learn more about what’s included in a healthy diet by visiting our Nutrition, Dieting & Weight Management section.