woman hydrating
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Why You Need It

Water keeps your body working the way it should. Your organs, muscles, and joints all need it. It also helps your immune system fight off germs, it’s great for your skin, and it cools you down when you’re hot. Drinking water can help you lose weight and lower your chances of kidney stones, too. If it’s not part of your daily routine, you can do a few things to change that.

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woman eating watermelon
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Eat Your Water

You can, and you probably do. Most people get about 20% of the water they need each day from food. It gets into your system more slowly that way and can come along with nutrients you need. Foods that have a lot of water include watermelon, cucumbers, zucchini, and tomatoes.

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family cooking soup
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Have Some Soup

It’s mostly water, and there’s one for every taste. You can make broth from fish, chicken, beef bones, or vegetables. Add beans, greens, meats, grains, or veggies -- even pasta or eggs. If you’re under the weather, try some homemade chicken soup: You’ll get more H2O, and you might even shake your cold faster.

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lemon water
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Add a Twist

A little squeeze of lemon can make plain old water a bit more interesting, and it’s good for you, too. Lemons have antioxidants and potassium to help keep your cells healthy, and citric acid to help with digestion and prevent kidney stones.

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sparkling water
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Make It Sparkle

If you’re looking for something with a little more zip, sparkling or fizzy water may do the trick. The bubbles can give your beverage a splash without adding sugar and other things that aren’t good for you.

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Indulge Your Salt Tooth

An afternoon snack of lightly salted walnuts or popcorn might be just the thing to make you reach for a glass of water. Both foods have protein and fiber, and popcorn is a whole grain and fat-free (as long as you don’t load it down with butter). Walnuts also have things like omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E that are good for your heart, but don’t overdo it -- they’re high in calories.

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Take a Coffee (or Tea) Break

Yes, they have caffeine, but they’re also full of water. Don't sip on them all day, though, or you could get the jitters or even a bellyache. Two cups a day should be fine -- and your healthiest bet is to skip the sugar and cream.

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woman drinking water
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Bring Your Water With You

It’s a simple thing, but it can really make a difference -- if you have some nearby, you’re more likely to drink it, especially if you’re out and about. To keep your water cold, get a stainless steel bottle and add some ice or use freezer-safe bottles. Grab it on your way out in the morning and have ice water on the go.

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family toasting with water
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Start a New Habit

Make it part of your routine to have a tall glass of water before you sit down for a meal. It’s good for your body, and you’re likely to eat less, too. In one study, people on a diet ate about 85 fewer calories per meal if they drank 16 ounces about a half-hour before each mealtime. Over 12 weeks, they lost 5 pounds -- about 50% more than those who didn’t drink up before sitting down.

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Get an App

If you need a reminder to drink up, there are plenty of apps for that. They can help you keep track of how much water you drink, and suggest how much you should have and when. If you don’t want to download anything, set some friendly reminders on your smartphone.

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indian meal
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Spice It Up

If you like foods with a kick, they can help put more fluids into your system. Have you ever tried to eat Indian food without a large glass or two of something cool to drink? To ease the burn, go with milk as your healthy beverage of choice.

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man drinking water
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When to Drink

Drink when you're thirsty -- that’s your body’s way of letting you know you need more water. But also pay attention when you go to the bathroom. If your pee is dark yellow, your body might be holding onto water, and that can be a sign that you need more. How much you need is different for everyone, depending on your health, how dry the air is where you live, and your daily activities.

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Sources | Medically Reviewed on 05/17/2019 Reviewed by Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD on May 17, 2019


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CDC: “Keeping Your Cool,” “A Guide to Drinking Water Treatment Technologies for Household Use,” “Water and Nutrition.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Dehydrated? These 7 Foods Will Satisfy Your Thirst and Hunger,” “7 Reasons to Start Your Day with Lemon Water.”

Mayo Clinic: “Nutrition and healthy eating: Factors that influence water needs.”

Medical News Today: “Two Cups Of Water Before Each Meal Enhanced Weight Loss In Clinical Trial.”

Nemours Foundation: “Why Drinking Water Is The Way To Go.”

Rehydration Project: “Diarrhea Fact Sheet.”

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine: “Report Sets Dietary Intake Levels for Water, Salt, and Potassium To Maintain Health and Reduce Chronic Disease Risk,” “Dietary Reference Intakes: Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate.”

UCLA Explore Integrative Medicine: “An Inside Scoop on the Science Behind Chicken Soup and the Common Cold.”

Reviewed by Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD on May 17, 2019

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.