The Importance of Hydration
As summer is fast approaching or actually here in the great state of Texas, we need to start becoming more focused on our hydration. It’s warm out, we are out more, so we need to make sure we are not becoming a hot mess of dehydration. Staying hydrated is really important and can derail anyone from reaching their health goals. In most of the current diet fads, beverages are often forgotten in the shouting. Yes, macronutrients are important, but the body is made up of around 70% water and our brain a little bit more, so water plays an important role in our health. There are many ways your body uses water such as digestion, transportation of nutrients, and most importantly: appetite control. Often thirst is mistaken for hunger.
Unfortunately, nothing can replace water. You can add in broths, teas, or some juices, but water will always be king. I can hear some of you groaning, I do get it, water isn’t usually a favorite. There’s no pop, fizzy or flavor to it and most people don’t want to drink just plain water, but there are many things that can break down and not work with your body if you are not drinking enough. Mild dehydration can cause a variety of things to go wrong from dry skin to chronic headaches, to increased risk of hypertension, and cognitive issues. Mild dehydration produces alterations in a number of important aspects of cognitive function such as concentration, alertness and short-term memory in children (10–12 y), young adults (18–25y) and in the oldest adults, 50–82y (D’Anci, Popkin, & Rosenberg, 2010). So whether or not you like the taste of water, you have to acknowledge that water is important.
The amount of water you need depends on your lifestyle. The understood rule is to take your body weight, half it and that’s how many ounces in a day you should be consumed at a minimum. For example, if you weigh 200 lbs, then you will need to drink 100 oz of water. If you are active and workout on a regular basis more is needed. Listen to your body, it will always give you subtle hints if you learn to listen. If you have eaten 1 hour previously and you are hungry again, try drinking water. Your body is weird in the fact that if you are mildly hungry, it is more likely than not, just thirsty. This is one of the ways people put on excess weight, when they are not recognizing their body’s signals. The first thing I do when I’m starting to get a headache is to drink water, a lot of it. But that’s just me. I can not say it enough: Listen to your body!!
When I hear that people don’t like the taste of water (I hear it a lot), I try to help them come up with ways to help them drink water. The most popular way I have found to help people learn to either like water or at least tolerate it is to add fruit, veggies, or herbs. There’s several ways to do this, by far the easiest way is to purchase an infusion water bottle like this one, it’s easy to refill throughout the day or a pitcher like this one. There are a few less expensive ways to create infusions, one is just putting it in something such as a mason jar and refigerating it or putting all your ingredients into a cheese cloth and letting it sit (this is less effort if you don’t want things left floating). There are a million combinations you can try, a quick search on Pinterest or Google will tell you that. My personal favorite is strawberry, lime, and basil. So very yummy!!
The recipe is really simple: slice up 3 to 5 strawberries (antioxidants!), slice up one lime (detoxification and metabolism), and score 4 to 5 basil (detoxification, anti inflammatory, anti bacterial) leaves and fill with filtered water. Let it sit for 4 hrs to overnight and enjoy!!
The sky’s the limit with infusions! Get creative and stay hydrated, it is sometimes the hidden key to optimal health.
D’Anci, Kristen E; Popkin, Barry M; and Rosenberg, Irwin H. (2010, August) Water, Hydration and Health, Nutrition Review, doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2010.00304.x