Is there any subject Dad Jokes don’t cover? Take dehydration:

Once, I was so dehydrated, I couldn’t even remember all the letters in the English alphabet.

I remembered ABCDEFG and then PQRSTUVWXYZ. I was missing H to O.

Dehydration is no joke. We all need to stay hydrated, so water you waiting for? (Last Dad Joke, I promise.) We lose almost two litres of fluids from peeing, breathing, and sweating on an average day. When it’s hot outside, we sweat out even more water. Since breathing and peeing are non-negotiable, you’re going to need to replace all of those lost fluids. Every. Single. Day.

As a Registered Dietitian with TELUS Health MyCare, it’s pretty common to hear from clients that they don’t drink enough fluids. This is often because they forget, they don’t actually know how much water they need, or they simply don’t enjoy drinking water. 

If you don’t like water or find it challenging to drink your overall target of 3 litres of fluids per day, I have great news: you can stay hydrated with more than just water alone.

How to hydrate if you don’t like water

Water is the absolute best way to hydrate, according to Canada’s Food Guide. That said, there are lots of other fluids that count towards your total intake.

Your morning coffee, for instance, counts towards your daily target.

Here are some other thirst-quenching alternatives to water:

  • Lemon water
  • Soda water
  • Coconut water. The tasty fluid found inside a coconut can be bought at the supermarket bottled or canned, or sucked out of a young coconut through a straw.
  • Juice in moderation (no more than one glass per day)
  • Kombucha
  • Tea (hot or cold)
  • Smoothies
  • Milk
  • Sparkling water with cucumber, fruit, or any of the delicious suggestions listed here.

Best foods for hydration

Two people eating watermelon for hydration

Ever wonder where different fruits got their names? Some are obvious: blueberries are blue, oranges are orange, and pineapples do kind of look like an apple got it on with a pinecone. Watermelons, meanwhile, are 92 percent water. No wonder they’re so refreshing in the middle of a heatwave!

As it turns out, pretty much, all fruits are mostly water. That’s why eating them on a hot summer’s day is such a great way to stay hydrated. Combine this with delicious taste and outstanding nutritional value. Eating any of the fruits listed here leads to a healthy double play! Some of the most hydrating fruits are watermelon, strawberries, oranges, peaches, and mangoes.

One of the best things about fruits is that you can grab ‘em and go. That said, it’s easy to take fruit to the next level. For instance, you can:

  • Combine a mix of fresh or frozen chopped fruit in a fruit salad.
  • Make fruit kebabs with fresh-cut mixed fruit.
  • Put fruits like peaches or pineapple on the grill.
  • Make a tropical green smoothie with mango, pineapple, and banana.
  • Top a refreshing summer salad with fresh berries or peaches.
  • Puree frozen bananas to make a very simple “ice cream.”
  • Get apples and plums small enough to fit in your pocket to go!

A hydrating food that always surprises people when I tell them is yogurt. Yogurt is around 80 percent water. If possible, stick to plain yogurt because the flavoured stuff tends to contain a lot of sugar. Mix up some yogurt, fruit and honey, and you won’t miss all the extra sugar in flavoured yogurt.

If eating lots of fruit isn’t your thing, no problem. Another delicious and easy option is a brothy soup like chicken noodle, vegetable, and french onion.

How much water should men drink a day?

Man drinking water for hydration

You may have heard that everyone should drink 8 glasses of water a day. However, this recommendation apparently comes from a 1945 study and is not based on any solid evidence. However, it’s not far off. For men, I generally recommend 12 cups of fluids a day or around 3 litres.

When it’s hot out, and we sweat (even a little bit), it makes sense to increase your fluid intake by an extra couple of cups (or ½ litre) of water a day.

How to tell if you’re dehydrated

If you find it hard to keep track of how much fluid you’re drinking per day, I encourage you to simply listen to your body and pay attention to what it’s telling you. Do you have a headache? Are you feeling sluggish or tired? Another sign that people aren’t usually aware of is feeling a bit more “down” than usual or a bit grumpy for no apparent reason

However, the ultimate indicator is to look at the colour of your pee. Always look for a pale-yellow colour. If you’re seeing a brighter yellow or a darker yellow colour, that’s a definite sign you need to drink more water or fluids.

How to drink more fluids

The easiest thing to do is to try and keep a bottle of water close to you. This might seem obvious, but simply make a conscious effort to keep a refillable glass of fluid nearby.

I promised to not tell anymore Dad Jokes, but…

Q: Why did Batman fill his freezer with water bottles?

A: Because he wanted just ice.

Have you discovered a trick to drinking enough water throughout the day? Share your tips in the comments below!

In 10 minutes, learn your risk level for the 8 most common health conditions affecting Canadian men. Men’s Health Check is free, anonymous and backed by medical experts.