What Counts Towards Your 8 Cups of Liquid Per Day?
By Melissa Ford on June 26, 2009
Every morning, I drink a liter of iced coffee--yes, I know this isn't the healthiest habit, but until the twins allow me more sleep, this will need to be the trade-off. My husband and I have a Jack Sprat approach to our daily caffeine intake where he prefers coffee hot and I prefer it cold, therefore, he makes a pot and the leftovers are poured into a glass pitcher to cool so I can consume it the next day. And not a drop is wasted.
I wish we had the same feelings towards plain water. Whereas Josh jokes that I would lick the inside of the coffee cup to suck in those last drops of caffeine, water glasses are often left unfinished on the table and the Nalgene bottle is trotted around without removing a sip of its contents. We are terribly wasteful with water, and until I started researching it on the Internet, I didn't realize how not consuming enough water could affect how I feel just as much as not getting enough caffeine creates headaches.
In fact, not getting enough water during the day can cause headaches, dizziness, and constipation.
I started by reading a Mayo Clinic article which admitted that there wasn't a perfect formula for finding the amount of water you need to drink throughout the day. So much of it depends on the foods you eat and your level of activity. But I am a black-and-white sort of girl who needs a black-and-white sort of formula. Therefore, I decided that even though the Mayo Clinic told me I could count my coffee towards my daily liquid intake--"Even beer, wine and caffeinated beverages — such as coffee, tea or soda — can contribute, but these should not be a major portion of your daily total fluid intake. Water is one of your best bets because it's calorie-free, inexpensive and readily available."--I would only count plain water or low-calorie flavoured drinks such as Crystal Light towards my daily intake and set the bar at an admirable 2 liters (after the additional liter of iced coffee).
But this water intake doesn't need to come solely from drinks. It can also come from water-rich foods. An obvious water-rich food is soup broth, but be creative and look towards fruits and vegetables (cucumbers, watermelon, grapefruit, or lettuce) which are high in water. It's not just about sitting there, eating a straight piece of watermelon either. A quick jaunt through the Food Network site yielded high-water recipes such as Watermelon and Cantaloupe Salad, a non-alcoholic Watermelon Cooler that brings in watery sorbet too, and Cucumber Salad with Dill.
The point, of course, is to get creative with the water intake because drinking straight tap water day in and day out can become boring and make you stray from the 2 liter path. But that creativity can include not just adding flavour to water with lemon or lime slices, but eating water-rich foods from vegetables to popsicles.
Melissa is the author of the infertility and pregnancy loss blog, Stirrup Queens and Sperm Palace Jesters. She keeps a categorized blogroll of 1800 infertility blogs and writes the daily Lost and Found and Connections Abound, a news source for the infertility blogosphere. Her infertility book, Navigating the Land of If, is currently on bookshelves (May, 2009).