Just like the earth, our bodies primarily consist of water. It's such an important nutrient that we literally cannot survive more than about a week without it. Think about that. You can survive a week without food, without sleep, without [insert any other item that seems necessary for your survival] except water. And while our bodies do an incredible job of regulating the amount of water that leaves the body based on our hydration status, we can benefit from prioritizing hydration on daily basis. Which leads me to strategy #2...drink up!
How much should I drink?
Since there is insufficient evidence to define a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), an Adequate Intake (AI) was set for water. Basically, it's the amount that's deemed adequate for the average healthy person based on observational data. For fluids (including water + other beverages), it's set at about 13 cups/day for men and 9 cups/day for women, which accounts for roughly 80% of water intake (the rest coming from food). This is a good place to start, but you may need to alter your intake based on your size, age, activities, and environment. Aim to drink with meals and when thirsty so that your urine is light in color.
What is water's role in the body?
Water affects blood volume and aids in transporting nutrients and excreting waste (think helping to break down food, absorb the good stuff and get rid of the bad). Dehydration can lead to headaches, fatigue, and dizziness (all related to that blood volume piece) as well as poor skin turgor (read: skin is less elastic). It can also affect digestion leading to constipation.
What about other drinks?
Aside from alcohol, count all your drinks (caffeinated ones included!) when tracking your fluid intake. Prioritize water followed by drinks free of sugar, sodium, artificial sweeteners, and calories (seltzer, tea, coffee). For caloric drinks, choose those with beneficial nutrients (milk contains protein and vitamins!) over sugar-sweetened beverages (think soda, sweet tea, and lattes).