It's important to stay hydrated throughout the day, because by the time you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Though drinking water is typically one of the best ways to hydrate, many people get bored with that, and want to find other ways. To choose the best ways to hydrate, consider why you need to get hydrated; for instance, after exercise, a sports drink might be best to replace the electrolytes lost through sweat, but it might be too sugary to drink throughout the day. Smoothies and fruit can be great ways to stay hydrated as well, as these are high in water content as well as vitamins and nutrients.
Keep in mind that water is at the top of the list of the best ways to hydrate. The body needs water to function, and it is generally recommended that you drink six to eight glasses per day; some people add a squeeze of lemon for a little bit of flavor. It is simply not the same as coffee or sodas, which contain caffeine -- a diuretic -- and high levels of sugar. Though these can help to hydrate you in a pinch, they can actually cause a bit of dehydration at the same time, and the sugar makes them higher in calories. Herbal tea might be a better choice.
Aside from water, fruits and fruit juices are great ways to hydrate as well. Fruit juices that are low in sugar are a good choice, but simply snacking on fruit can help with hydration as well. Watermelon, grapes, and grapefruit are some of the best choices, but most fresh fruits and vegetables are high in water content. Other foods can contain a certain amount of liquid as well; for instance, some experts mention chicken breasts and hamburgers as ways to hydrate, but this is not really a practical, everyday solution. For people who are sick, sipping on chicken broth can be a great way to stay hydrated and get some nutrients as well.
After exercise or an illness that includes vomiting or diarrhea, sports drinks are some of the best ways to hydrate. These include sugar and electrolytes to help keep the body in balance and replace what was lost. These are also quite high in sugar, however, so experts generally recommend only drinking them as needed, or watering them down with ice cubes, rather than drinking them throughout the day. Whatever way you choose to stay hydrated, it is important to make sure that you do!