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Thirsty? You should be. Sadly, you may be one of those lost souls who can’t stand the taste of water. Sure, you could hydrate with juice or sports drinks, but then you’d be adding a bunch of sugar or artificial sweeteners into the mix. Yes, these drinks can play a role in a healthy diet, but 8 glasses a day of orange juice would be far more vitamin C than you need, as well as hundreds of sugar calories that you shouldn’t be consuming-calories completely unchecked by the fiber you get from eating actual oranges.

Actually, water is the way to go, so to help you get the stuff down, we’ve come up with a few simple tips. But before we get started, we’d like to make a preemptive response to all of you who will write in to “inform” us about that widely touted 2002 study in the American Journal of Physiology that discounts the old 8-ounce-glass-of-water, eight-times-a-day rule. According to the study, a normal, healthy adult just needs to drink when he or she is thirsty to stay hydrated.

Well, before you hang up your squirt bottle, keep in mind that the study includes a huge disclaimer: the light-and-easy hydration rule doesn’t apply to people with medical conditions requiring fluid control, athletes, people living in extreme conditions, and people involved in prolonged physical activity.

In other words, here are seven ways to make water more palatable. Use ’em.

  1. Get fruity. A squish of lemon, lime, or orange goes a long way toward giving water a little zing. It’s almost calorie free, and you get a bonus blast of vitamin C. Furthermore, if you happen to be doing our programs while you’re out at sea, it can help with any unwanted scurvy.
  2. Herbify yourself. Make yourself a big tub of caffeine-free, herbal tea. There are hundreds of flavors to choose from. Mint and raspberry are a couple of our favorites.
  3. Bubble up! According to a 2001 study out of the Creighton University Osteoporosis Research Center in Nebraska, the notion that carbonated water leaches calcium from your bones is completely untrue. So, if you want to hydrate with a big glass of Perrier, go for it.
  4. Minty fresh. Crushed mint is another great way to liven up your water. If you want to get the most out of the leaves, put them in the glass first and grind them down. This will release a ton of flavor. Mint is also known to soothe upset stomachs and, more importantly, freshen your breath. Mix the mint with the lemon for a real taste sensation!
  5. Filter flavor. It’s a subtle shift, but sometimes the filtration process can alter the taste of tap water. Get yourself a Brita filter or similar brand and give it a go. Even if the flavor doesn’t change, you’ll be drinking purer stuff.
  6. Brush your teeth. A good scrub of your teeth and tongue overpowers the taste of almost everything you put in your mouth for several minutes afterward. Take this opportunity to knock back a glass of H2O. You won’t taste a thing.
  7. Cuc anyone? This one is a little wacky, but if you like new tastes, give it a shot. Chop up a cucumber (yes, a cucumber). Add it to a pitcher of water and chill it for 2 to 3 hours so that the cucumber flavor can permeate. Serve the water with ice. It’s the perfect refreshing drink for a hot, summer day.

For more from Latwanas stephens read her personal blog and follow her on Twitter

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