Wellness Wednesday: More Ways To Hydrate
Doctors suggest drinking 8 glasses of water a day to stay hydrated. Staying hydrated is vital for your health: it keeps your internal organs running smoothly, regulates your body temperature, and prevents dehydration (which can have profoundly negative effects on your body and mind). It’s important to remember, however, that you don’t ONLY have to drink water to stay hydrated. There are other sources of hydration available to you. While none of the following foods and drinks should be used to completely replace daily water consumption, they can supplement it.
Popular wisdom (like this scene from Anchorman) tells us that milk isn’t a hot day beverage. Not true! While milk is a heavy drink, it is also very hydrating. That’s because it contains sodium, protein, fat, and lactose. All of these nutrients and elements combine to slow down the emptying of fluid from your stomach, thus keeping you hydrated for a longer period of time. Almond and soy milks also have similar hydrating benefits.
If it’s green, it’ll probably hydrate you. Leafy green veggies are dense with water; some vegetables contain 85% or more water. In addition to being excellent sources of hydration, vegetables tend to be low on calories and jam-packed with a wide array of essential vitamins and minerals. Making vegetables a cornerstone of your diet will help stave off dehydration, even during the hottest days of the year.
Some of the most hydrating vegetables include:
- Bell Peppers
Like their vegetable cousins, fruits are nutritionally nourishing and hydrating. The downside is that they tend to have much higher sugar content and caloric intake. Fruit juices and fresh fruit are a great way to stay hydrated, but you’ll want to consume them in moderation.
Top hydrating fruits include:
A healthy alternative to sports drinks is coconut water. Coconut water doesn’t just contain a large amount of water—it’s a rich source of electrolytes, potassium, sodium, and manganese. It also contains less sugars and carbs than leading sports drinks.
It may sound surprising but oatmeal is actually one of the best things you can eat to stay hydrated. When you make oatmeal the oats absorb the fluid you cook it in, so all that water and/or milk is packed into every bite of oatmeal. Mix in some fruits like blueberries and strawberries to make it even more refreshing and flavorful.
Broth-based soups are a great source of hydration. Most soups are 92% water based. Soups tend to be loaded with salt, which helps the body retain water. A hot bowl of chicken soup or a chilled serving of gazpacho is an easy-to-prepare meal that’s loaded with healthy vitamins and can help prevent you from being dehydrated.
Contrary to popular belief, coffee isn’t dehydrating. While some caffeinated drinks like soda can have a mild diuretic effect (causing you to go to the bathroom more often which dehydrates you), coffee doesn’t cause fluid loss. An average cup of coffee contains 98% water, making it a great source for early morning hydration.