As things heat up this time of year it is crucially important to stay hydrated. Many factors can play into proper hydration including: type of hydration, proper amount based on size and activity level, and consistency. If one of these components is missing for even a day it can take your body time to recover, leaving your depleted in some way. Water makes up about 60% of your body and every one of your systems depend on it, making it vitally import to your body's proper function. Being well hydrated contributes to healthy hair, nails, regulated body temperature, strong heart rate and low blood pressure. However, over time inadequate hydration can take a toll on your health, which I am here to help prevent from happening! The most important thing to understand is your daily personal base requirements for water intake, as well as overall fluid intake. Read on to learn how best to stay healthy and hydrated through drinking water, other fluids, and hydrating foods.
Signs of Dehydration
- thirst (if you wait to drink until you are thirsty, then you are already dehydrated!)
- dry skin/ mouth
- less frequent urination (well-hydrated people need to urinate at least once every 2 hours)
- urine is darker in color (ideally should be nearly clear)
- lack of concentration
- increased heart rate
Types of Hydration
Water is BEST- natures purest form of hydration and the best way to stay hydrated!
Infused Water- I get it, plain water can get boring sometimes... spruce it up by adding sliced fruits, vegetables or herbs (such as cucumbers, strawberries, mint or lemon) to your water for an extra refreshing flavor and antioxidant boost.
Milk- a good hydrating choice as it is also full of calcium and other nutrients.
Coconut Water- Is especially great to drink on a hot day or after a tough workout because it is full of potassium and electrolytes to help replenish your system.
Cold-Pressed Juice- a great way to add to your fluid intake. It is best to stick to natural and wholesome choices (like Peel'd juices!) rather than ones loaded with unnecessary hidden sweetners.
Carbonated Drinks (like sparkling water or soda)- carbonation can be a nice change of pace sometimes, and will still contribute to your overall hydration.
Sports Drinks- some of these can be a good way to hydrate as long as they aren't loaded with chemicals or sugars, so make sure to read labels. Any drink that is bright neon in color is probably not the healthiest! You can also lower the sugar content by diluting it with water.
Caffeine: coffee/tea- though caffeine can contribute to your overall fluid intake for the day it can also be a mild diuretic. Though the diuretic effect does not offset hydration, it can contribute to headaches or sleep quality, so be aware of that and perhaps try to limit your caffeine intake to 1-2 glasses a day.
Hydrating Fruits- many fruits have high water-content and are a great choice to add to your fluid intake. Watermelon, oranges, grapefruit and honeydew melon are all wonderful choices.
Hydrating Vegetables- many veggies contain water as well; good ones to reach for with hydrating qualities are: cucumbers, celery, tomatoes, green peppers, and romaine lettuce.
Hydrating Foods- you can also sneak extra water into your diet by consuming hydrating foods like oatmeal, yogurt, soup, and smoothies.
*Alcohol- Beware! Alcohol may taste refreshing to some of you, but it will also dehydrate you! If you choose to have a cold beer on a hot day, as even I myself enjoy, then try to drink at least one glass of water per alcoholic drink to prevent dehydration.
To gauge what your baseline of hydration should be each day do the following calculation: Your weight divided by 2= the number of ounces of PURE WATER you should consume each day at a minimum. *For example for a person weighing 150 lbs, they would need to drink a minimum of 75oz of water per day. You should consume roughly 3-5 glasses of other fluids in addition to water for a solid daily hydration foundation. So if you drink a cold-pressed juice, consider it as contributing to your overall fluid intake, but not to your water intake.
Other factors will increase what you need to replenish, such as sweating on a hot day or or during exercise activities. When you sweat you must replace those fluids on top of your base water intake. Ideally a person exercising should consume 16 ounces one hour prior to exercise, 4-8 ounces every 15-30 minutes during exercise, and another 16 ounces an hour after exercise. The amounts can vary depending on your personal response, heat index, and the type of activity.
In addition to drinking enough water, it is also important to drink that water incrementally throughout the day to stay hydrated at an even keel and continue flushing the food you are consuming. I find it is best to drink 2 glasses of water upon waking each morning. This habit will help to awaken your digestive system, and begin to hydrate you after a nights rest and a full day ahead. Another good habit to form is drinking a glass of water before every meal; this can help curb overeating, as well as keep you on track to keep drinking enough water. Always try keep a water bottle with you so you can take advantage of slower times of the day to drink water; such as driving during a commute, sitting at a desk, or standing in line.
I hope this helps you feel more prepared for the upcoming heat waves. Keep that water close by and drink up! If you need help tracking your water there are apps now to help you do so!