First Step To Changing Your Health: Start With Hydration

If you're wondering what's missing from your healthy diet, bring your focus away for the food and focus on the drinks in your diet. Whether or not you drink juice, milk, tea, or coffee, you want to be sure you are drinking enough water. Hydration is key for boosting your metabolism, maintaining a healthy weight, and keeping a strong immune system. We spoke with Lauren Slayton, registered dietitian of FoodTrainers about the most important way to change your health: through hydration!

Click here for the 12 Recipes That Will Help You Stay Hydrated slideshow.

Hydration ups your mood and motivation

"Numbers vary, but less than five percent of dehydration can decrease sharpness, concentration, and mood by 25 percent," Slayton said.

Drink up before you eat up

"Drinking just two cups of water before a meal will help you consume fewer calories," Slayton advised. "However, hold off on guzzling while you eat, as digestion may be impacted."

Your hydration should be pH balanced

"It's not good for your body to drink water that is too high, or too low in pH, as proper pH balance is important for mineral absorption," Slayton said.

A key ingredient for regularity

"Unhealthy foods... can be hard, and fiber can't do its job without water," Slayton warned.

Drink enough for your body weight

"The easiest rule is to divide your weight in pounds by two and you'll get a rough number of ounces," Slayton said. "For example, a 120-pound person needs at least 60 ounces of water, which is approximately three CORE water bottles."

Fun up your water

"There are two groups of people: the happy hydrators who have no problem meeting their water needs and the water haters (you know who you are)," Slayton said. "If you're a water-hater and over the lemon wedge, try grapefruit slices in your water. I'm also a fan of fresh herbs such as mint or basil (plus they're easy to squish into your water bottle). Another trick is teabags. You can put your teabags in cold water too."

The accompanying slideshow is provided by fellow Daily Meal editorial staff member Milagros Cruz.