When you’re bombarded by ads for adaptogens, tonics and green juices galore, it can be easy to forget that life’s most healthful elixir is just a faucet away. Water — that’s right, plain, unadulterated water — is the only drink you truly need. Here are nine great reasons to reach for your favorite reusable water bottle this summer.
Water quells stubborn, heat-induced irritability
Beach-day-worthy sunshine feels wonderful for a weekend or two, but after one too many scorchers, you may feel especially annoyed outside of air-conditioned comfort. A healthy dose of H2O prevents the fatigue and tension associated with dehydration, according to Stephanie Eggert, a lecturer on holistic health at USC.
It’ll offset those afternoon margaritas
Speaking of irritability, water can ease those incessant post-mojito headaches. It “helps flush toxins out of the body, so it’s good for people who want to do a simple daily cleanse,” Eggert said. Alternate sips of alcohol with sips of water to stay hydrated. is way, you can continue drinking cocktails by the pool without paying for it later.
You can eat your water too
If water does little to excite your palate, here’s good news: You can (and should) eat foods such as leafy greens for hydration just as much as sustenance, according to USC nutrition educator Claudia Del Vecchio. “We should get about 75% of our fluid intake from water or water hydration beverages, and then 25% should come from plant food like fruits and vegetables,” Del Vecchio said.
Water fends off the urge to overeat at mealtimes
You’ve likely heard the somewhat annoying advice to drink a glass of water if you feel hungry. As it turns out, eating your water can both hydrate and satiate you before a meal. “In terms of having people fill up and feel fuller, it’s a lot better to eat your water for satiety,” Del Vecchio said. “One cucumber is 96% water, so not only are you getting the hydration, but you are getting the nutrients.”
It keeps your mind sharp
If childhood memories of summer vacation are making you want to leap from your desk and hit the beach, you may want to leap to your water bottle instead. Being dehydrated can cause you to lose focus. Water helps keep our glandular systems balanced, and if we don’t get enough of it, “our clarity is immediately off,” Eggert said.
It keeps your joints from making that dreaded cracking sound
Yoga instructors know that when wrist rotations induce a symphony of cracks and creaks, they have a room full of dehydrated yogis. Drinking water lubricates your joints, which helps them move smoothly and quietly, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It fuels your muscles
Water is the backstage secret to a successful gun show. It helps your heart pump blood to your muscles, which means they’ll operate more powerfully during a workout. “If you’re exercising, you’re becoming slightly dehydrated, and your motivation can wane because you don’t feel physically good,” Eggert said. Be sure to hydrate before, during and after exercise, because vigorous activity will make you sweat out that water.
Water can taste exciting
If plain water is too boring to bear, try infusing it with your favorite summer produce and herbs. Cucumber, lemon and mint will taste refreshing, while strawberry and kiwi will quash juice cravings.
It gives you an excuse to splurge on fashionable water bottles
Having a stylish sipping vessel is just as important as the water itself, right? From stainless steel to silicon, insulated to lightweight, today’s bottles come in an impressive variety of colors and styles.
If you liked that tip about eating your water…
Here are a few more foods that can both fill you up and quench your thirst:
Chia seeds. They absorb water up to 12 times their weight, Del Vecchio explained.
Probiotics. Consume probiotics in kefir, pickles and more. Del Vecchio said they’re not only good for gut health, but for hydration because they absorb electrolytes.
Raw fruits and vegetables. Besides cucumber and iceberg lettuce — the wateriest produce of all — celery, tomatoes, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, sweet peppers and spinach contain at least 91% water. Watermelon, strawberries, cantaloupe and grapefruit are the wateriest fruits.