(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

by Katrina Avila

It makes up 60 percent of your body and 70 percent of the Earth, so why don’t we drink more of it? Water is essential to sustaining life, yet most people don’t drink nearly enough.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “every system in your body depends on water. [It] flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells, and provides a moist environment for ear, nose, and throat tissues.” Not to mention, drinking enough water can help you shed those few extra pounds.

Fitday.com says staying properly hydrated can suppress your appetite and prevent your body from retaining water. When your body gets enough water, it doesn’t try to hold onto the water it already has. Drinking enough water can also give your skin a healthy glow and keep those nasty headaches at bay.

The Mayo Clinic also states that not drinking enough water leads to dehydration, and, what may seem even worse to people, weight gain. Most people think we only lose water through sweat; however, breathing, urinating, and defecating can also cause the body to lose water.

While there is no standard formula to determine how much water we should drink in a day, the Mayo Clinic states that a safe estimate for men is about three liters (13 cups) a day, and women should drink two and a quarter liters (nine cups) a day. It might seem like a lot, but it is possible to stay on top of your water consumption.

Here are some helpful tips to make sure that you’re getting enough water into your system. After all, you don’t want to be thirsty.

      1. Get a new water bottle!

With the built-in Brita filters stationed in almost every building on campus, there is no excuse to not hydrate. Colorful and vibrant water bottles encourage us to drink more water. Plastic water bottles are drab and boring, and lead to environmental pollution. Do yourself and the environment a favor and stop by your local supermarket (or Amazon) to buy a new one. Just be sure to get one that is labeled BPA Free.

    2. Set goals!

Once you get that new water bottle, set some hydration goals for yourself. You don’t have to drink the recommended values right away, but it’s something to work towards. One way to increase your water intake is to set consumption goals for different times of the day. Draw a couple of lines on your water bottle, about an inch and a half apart and designate different times of the day. For example, the highest line on the bottle could read 9:00 a.m., the next would be 10:00 a.m., and so on. You might need to buy another water bottle for this, but you could always just refill the bottle and keep drinking!

  3.  Spice it up!

We’ve all seen mason jars with colorful fruit floating around in ice cold water. And while that may be pretty and eclectic, you might be repelled by all the pulp and floating fruit bits. Citrus Ziger offers customers a pulp-free option to hydrating. For around $18, you can hydrate and flavor your water.

   4.  Stick a straw in it!

If you’re running low on cash, or you’re not the water bottle type, simply drinking through a straw can help you drink more. As humans, we naturally have oral fixations; we constantly chew gum eat breath mints, or jungle a toothpick around with our tongues. Drinking water through a straw caters to that fixation and distracts you from realize you’re even drinking. Give it a go and keep track of how many cups you drink.