Is it possible to hydrate the wrong way? YES! Definitely! That’s why I decided to dig into this a little more than the trivial knowledge of drinking eight cups of water a day. In an effort to be well, I think that it’s absolutely necessary to get the basics right. So, let’s explore a little how to hydrate the right way.
Water Intake Recommendation
Water is life itself. We simply can’t live without it. Therefore, the best hydration drink ever is water! The whole animal kingdom knows that instinctively. We know that. It’s exactly what our body needs and it has no calories. But, many times we forget to drink enough water. Obviously, that’s the first thing that we get wrong. We have to listen to our thirst, without confusing it with hunger (especially if we’re comfort eaters). Also, drinking too much caffeine or alcohol may take a health toll on the re-hydration route. In every case, the hydration needs vary from person to person, based on age, weight, built-size, and activity level. A person who’s working out and sweating it, needs to re-hydrate more than a person who’s sitting at a desk writing away. Therefore, eight cups of water was a mere general recommendation back in 1945 (now outdated). Nowadays, the daily recommendation by the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) is 3.7 liters for an average adult man and 2.7 liters for an average adult woman, but these include the water intake from food consumption. However, these intakes vary according to numerous factors (geographic location, temperature e.t.c). As a result, there’s no reason to try to comply with those markings.
If there’s magic in this world, it is contained in water.
One thing is for sure. As civilizations seem to flourish, the variety of water-based drinks also seems to flourish and expand in range with teas, coffee, soda drinks, and energy drinks to name a few. What can I say? We humans love variety! Therefore, a whole bunch of hydration drinks have been invented. However, most are packed with sugar, and/or flavor additives. But, let’s be honest; drinking a sugar loaded drink is not the best way to quench thirst, and an all natural juice is not all that natural, unless you squeeze, mash and blend it yourself on the spot. Besides, does that flavor of the sugar-loaded drink really worth a high blood sugar spike? I don’t think so!
Thus, the best alternative is to add lemon slices. Perhaps, a little boring… (but, I still like it). Some may argue that a little coconut milk does also the trick. Another alternative is to create your very own smoothie from fruits. After all, fruits and veggies do contain water and therefore, they make another excellent source of water with vitamins as a bonus. 😉 My favorite all natural drink is blending a combination of two oranges, 1 banana, and 1/2 an apple – nothing beats a classic! Occasionally, I add a pear, and/or a kiwi. (I stay clear from strawberries because their strangely huge size denotes something very unnatural about them).
High Water Content Fruits and Veggetables
And speaking of fruits, here’s a short list of the best fruits and veggies in terms of hydration, (high water content per volume or weight):
- watermelon (92%)
- strawberries (92%)
- grapefruits (91%)
- peaches (88%)
- pineapples, oranges, raspberries (87%)
- cucumbers and lettuce (96%)
- zucchini, radish and celery (95%)
- tomatoes (94%)
- cauliflower and green peppers (92%)
- broccoli (91%)
The benefits of fruits and vegetables are that except water, they also provide natural nutrients, mineral salts, amino acids and vitamins. They taste good, make us feel full while they contain minimal calories. Therefore, a few servings a day is a great idea if you can commit to it.
Tips for Drinking More Water
I don’t really have any fail-proof method for drinking more water. And I definitely don’t record religiously every cup I drink. Note that I don’t drink coffee or tea for the last 20+ years or so (but, I’ll get into that in another post). I also don’t drink soda drinks or juices in cartons. Therefore, I have to drink pure water or freshly squeezed juices. So, for me nothing beats pure water or a juice. Come to think of it though, I have created a routine: first thing in the morning, between meals and during meals. Basically though, I drink whenever I feel thirsty. And I usually drink a cup just before going to bed. (No, it doesn’t make me get up in the middle of the night). The bottom line is that the best way to drink water is to do it on regular intervals and then your body will follow – like clockwork.
If for some reason I haven’t drank enough, it’s easy to detect from the urine’s color: faint yellow to clear means thumbs up. Dark yellow means that I better have a cup of water immediately. If the amount of urine is too little, then the amount of drinking water intake should increase or in some cases have check with a doctor to eliminate the possibility for an underlying medical condition.
If you want an all natural solution, then nothing beats pure water. An increase in fruit and vegetable servings can definitely be more beneficial for anyone. Therefore, trying to establish a routine with a more balanced and nutritious diet and fewer flavored sugar drinks would really be a step in the right direction.
Be happy and stay strong,
P.S. This post was based on a background research carried out by our friend – Kalliroe. Thanks a bunch!