By Lynya Floyd

“You are what you drink,” proclaimed actress, producer and activist Gabrielle Union at the Partnership for a Healthier America’s 2017 Summit in Washington, DC. It’s a new twist on a familiar phrase—but this version is geared toward one simple message: getting everyone to sip more water.

“Staying hydrated is the single most important thing you can do to stay healthy—and most people don’t do it enough,” says the Being Mary Jane star, who credits water with helping her lose weight and improve everything from her skin to her energy level. “I have a gallon of water on set with me at all times, and I make sure to drink every last drop no matter how busy a day it may be.” You don't have to drink that much, but ask yourself if you've even been getting the recommended 9 cups per day.

Gabrielle had been a fan of the clear choice for years before joining arms with the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) to promote the easy yet game-changing message of drinking more water. “Drinking water throughout the day is a habit that was instilled in me at a young age,” says the award-winning actress. But she increased her intake about a decade ago, when she decided it was time to make some real changes in her life. “Everyone has that point where they’re like, ‘I can do better,’” admits Gabrielle, who hit that point after a divorce. “I said, ‘I know there is a better life for me.’ And it started with what I was putting into my body.”

Working with AJ Johnson, her trainer and life coach at the time, Gabrielle started reading food and beverage labels and realizing that enough was enough. “I’d been basically poisoning myself and wondering why I wasn’t feeling amazing.” She began by upping her water intake. “I lost 3 to 5 pounds in the first week,” she admits. “It was such a small change but had such a massive impact on how I felt—my energy level, digestion, hair, skin, nails.” To give herself the Four Seasons feel, she puts fruit in her glass. “I add lemon, cucumber and lime to my water to make me feel like I’m at the spa,” says Gabrielle. She also started drinking alkaline water last year.

“Drinking water is something that has kept me healthy and energized my entire life,” Gabrielle says, noting that water is now the most popular bottled beverage in America. Why not raise a glass with her—and the rest of the country—right now? Your body will thank you.