When we think about actions to maintain a healthy lifestyle, we often consider eating whole foods, exercising, stress management, and getting a good night's sleep. Yet, hydration is often overlooked as an essential component to healthy living. Why is water so important, anyway? To start, our skin, muscles and organs contain a large portion of water. Other vital functions include aiding in cell development, lubricating our joints, regulating body temperature, and removing waste from our bodies (click here for more reasons why water is essential). In general we require more than 8 cups (64 oz) of fluid per day, but it's important to remember that our hydration needs vary based on body size, age, medical history, and activity level.
During sessions clients will often ask me "does coffee or tea count as fluid?". YES! So, what else counts towards your daily hydration intake? To make it simple, anything that is liquid at room tempature. You don't have to only drink water to get in your daily fluid intake. Low calorie tea, coffee, seltzer water, soup, etc all count! You may also want to consider selecting foods that are higher in water content to help keep you adequately hydrated during the hot months. These include melons, cucumber, citrus, tomatoes, celery, radishes, and pineapple. Of course, your best bet to quench your thirst is to grab a refreshing beverage, but a little extra water here or there can add up! Not only do these foods have a higher water content than other produce, they also provide vitamins, fiber and phytochemicals. Getting more for your money is always a win!
Heat can deplete us of fluid quickly, especially if you are exercising or working outside. Here are a few tips to keep your hydration status in check:
Drink before you venture outside
Make sure to keep water or a low calorie beverage with you at all times
Fill up on a glass of water after your workout or activity outside
DON'T ignore signs of dehydration (headache, fatigue, thirst, dizzy, decreased urine output, dry skin and mouth)
Avoid sugary sports drinks unless you are working out > 1 1/2 hours
Making your own infused water is a flavorful way to stay hydrated without the added sugar found in most beverages. You can really use any fruits, vegetables, or herbs for infusing water. Citrus, berries, and cucumbers tend to be the tastiest in my opinion. Be creative and utilize fruits that may be on their way out, too!
Strawberry Watermelon Water
1-2 cups cubed watermelon
1 lime, sliced thin
1/2 pint of strawberries, chopped
Mint, thyme or rosemary if you desire
First, make sure you have a large pitcher on hand. Put the fruit and/or herbs into the pitcher. Add ice and water and let this sit in the refrigerator for 2 hours. Pour and enjoy!