Hydration 101: Your Complete Hydration Guide
To say that water is vital for our well-being would be the understatement of the century. It's the key component in our entire body, from our blood to our brain, and it is essential for us to be able to make the most of the nutrients we consume through food. However, we mostly use thirst as our guide during the day to choose how much and how often we sip on this divine drink, but there is much more to it than meets the eye.
Every single bodily function requires plenty of fluids to function every day, but add to that your physical activities that cause sweating, changes in temperature, and stress in many different shapes. So, before you forget about your next cup of water and swap it with coffee when you lack energy or feel drained, let’s see how you can be more efficient with your hydration habits!
Things to kick from your menu
Before we move onto the fun part, to all the juicy, water-rich items you can eat on a daily basis to spruce up your hydration, you should consider all the “dementors” in your diet. They are the ones that often take a toll on your overall water intake, as they do more harm than good. For example, coffee is often considered a diuretic, and yet, its effect is so mild that it’s actually a safe option compared to others.
What you should truly steer clear of, are those sugary sips such as sodas and energy drinks. They are too high in sugar and other sweeteners that they have no nutritional value and they are not a suitable source of hydration. You can safely drink around two cups of coffee per day, preferably unsweetened, and add tea to your final tally, to replace the sugary beverages.
Foods filled with H20
Now, instead of just counting your daily glasses of water, which can be a very misleading way to make sure that you’ve had enough, you should start introducing more edible sources of H2O. Luckily for us, some of them can easily be found all year round, while others may be more seasonal, but still worthy of munching on when the time is right.
Think watermelon, cabbage, lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers, all over 90% water. Then there are strawberries, raspberries, and cranberries, whose slightly lower water content shouldn’t worry you, because they’re still very hydrating. You can also infuse your diet with more broccoli, cauliflower, and spinach, which are not just loaded with water, but also packed with valuable micronutrients.
Little things that matter
Drinking water boils down (pardon the pun) to building the right habits. While it takes time to create a healthy diet plan that you’ll actually stick to, there are other ways you can include more water into your day without focusing solely on what and when you eat. For example, getting a reusable water bottle is a great way to keep an eye on your intake, and always know if you’ve had enough without counting those glasses.
You can also use your smart phone to set several daily reminders to take a sip of water. By starting your morning with a cup of lemon-infused water, for instance, you can help improve your digestion and other bodily processes, thus turning this simple act into an everyday routine.
Make it interesting
While we’re on the subject of lemon, some people may find it less inspiring to stick to the same old taste (or the lack thereof) when it comes to daily hydration. Instead, spice up your sips by infusing your water with a wide array of fruits, and you’ll look forward to those refreshments much more often.
Peach, berries, lemon, and lime all work well especially during summer, instantly turning your boring glass of water into a cool cocktail of tastes that are also brimming with vitamins and minerals. Soon, you’ll naturally start drinking more water, and be inspired to add more healthy fruits into your diet!
Listen to your body
The golden rule of “eight glasses per day” has long been debunked by many different studies, showing that we actually need more as adults, especially those who exercise and lead an overall active lifestyle. You can use a simple water intake calculator that factors in your weight, your height and other details for optimal hydration, but generally speaking, there are other symptoms of the beginning of dehydration to look out for.
Irritability, changed urine color, sluggishness, headaches, dry mouth, chapped lips, and lack of energy are all early signs your body is craving water. Your body will tell you what it needs, just make sure you listen closely and give your body what it needs to thrive!