There’s more than one way to keep your body at peak hydration and performing at its best.
In this article:
- Drink Enough Water
- Supplement With Caffeinated Drinks
- Eat Fruits And Vegetables
- Carry Some Sports Drinks
- Sip, Don’t Chug
- Infuse Your Water For Added Flavor
- Drink Water, Not Soda During Flights
- Be Familiar With The Symptoms Of Dehydration
- Limit Your Intake Of Highly Salty Foods
Hydration: 9 Tips To Keep In Mind
Why Is Hydration Important?
Your body consists of water, so it needs water to survive. Proper hydration ensures that your body maintains its temperature, lubricates your joints, and helps move waste along.
Here are some helpful tips to keep yourself hydrated every day.
1. Drink Enough Water
Water is the best possible way to stay hydrated. It contains no calories, keeps skin soft and plump, and keeps muscles hydrated.
6-8 glasses, or 2 liters, of water a day is a general rule that most people follow, but every individual has different needs. Some people may need the exact requirement, while some may be fine with much less. Some may need more, especially those who lose water throughout the day like athletes.
One good barometer for checking how well-hydrated you are is to check your urine. If it’s clear to light-colored, then you’re properly hydrated; if it’s dark yellow to amber, then you’re dehydrated and need to drink up.
2. Supplement With Caffeinated Drinks
Drinks that have caffeine, such as tea, coffee, or soda, are a good accompaniment to water in the race for hydration. It helps to add some variety, especially for people who dislike the tastelessness of water and enjoy the caffeine kick that lets them get through the day.
Caffeine is also helpful because it’s a diuretic. It draws a little extra water from your body as you digest it, removing more toxins along with it.
Keep in mind to maintain a moderate caffeine intake, though. 200-300 milligrams–the amount in 2-4 8-ounce servings of coffee–is enough for one day.
3. Eat Fruits And Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables can be considered hydration chips because their water content can be quite high. They are also filled with a variety of vitamins and minerals that help contribute to your overall health.
Load up on fruits like watermelon, strawberries, and oranges for a sweet and juicy treat. Accompany your meals with vegetables like cucumber, lettuce, and tomatoes to help fill up your hydration meals for the day.
4. Carry Some Sports Drinks
Sports drinks are everywhere on the market, and for good reason. They are especially helpful for athletes who need to recover lost hydration instantly since they exercise at beyond average levels for extended periods of time.
Sports drinks contain electrolytes and carbohydrates that help increase not only hydration but also energy levels. They also contain sodium that helps your body absorb and retain more water to keep you hydrated.
Keep in mind that sports drinks are not the same as energy drinks, which contain high amounts of caffeine and sugar, as well as stimulants such as ginseng and taurine.
5. Sip, Don’t Chug
Living with such busy schedules, it can be tempting to simply chug our daily water requirement in one to two sittings and be done with it. But, chugging water puts you at risk of diluting your blood, which results in your kidneys expelling more water from your body as urine.
This is the reason why you’re peeing more often after drinking too much water too quickly. Chugging may also put you at risk for hyponatremia, also known as water intoxication.
The presence of too much water in your system causes an imbalance, as it throws off the sodium levels in your body. Sodium’s job is to keep the balance in the fluids in your cells, but when it is overwhelmed with too much water, it causes swelling in your cells.
The best thing to do is to take a sip of one or two ounces of water at a time. This lets your body process water at a regular pace, saves you the annoyance of having to stand up to go to the bathroom constantly, and keeps hydration levels constant.
6. Infuse Your Water For Added Flavor
Granted, water is amazing, but it has absolutely no taste. Before you reach for the highly sugary carbonated drinks for your flavor fix, you should consider infusing your water with juicy fruits instead.
You may have already encountered restaurants who serve refreshing water infused with lemon slices and cucumber, so it’s high time you tried it yourself at home. You can even try infusing fruit and herb combinations for various tasty results, like lemon and ginger, basil and strawberry, grapefruit and rosemary, mint and blueberry…the list goes on.
Infusing your water with fruits and herbs also gives you added nutrients throughout the day. Lemons, for example, help alkalize your water, and mint helps keep your breath feeling and smelling fresh.
7. Drink Water, Not Soda During Flights
Sitting in an airplane cabin during long flights can be dehydrating, due to the low humidity. Hydration doesn’t seem to be much of a problem since drink trolleys are constantly passing by offering sodas, juices, and even wine.
But choosing water over all those other drinks is your best bet to keeping hydration levels in check throughout your flight. It may be tempting to constantly ask for cold soda since it comes with your airfare, but its high sugar levels can make it hard for your body to absorb much-needed water.
8. Be Familiar With The Symptoms Of Dehydration
You may not know it, but you may already be suffering from dehydration. It has symptoms that many simply shrug off, to serious long-term health consequences.
Symptoms include dizziness, palpitations, weakness, and dry mouth. Some hunger pangs are also indicative of thirst, so when you’re feeling hungry, sip some water instead of reaching for a salty snack.
The pinch method is also useful for finding out if your body is heading towards dehydration. When your skin turgor is normal, it will return to its normal shape instantly after pinching, but when it doesn’t immediately snap back, it is a sign of dehydration.
What Is Skin Turgor?
Skin turgor is the elasticity of the skin, or the ability of the skin to be flexible, but also return to normal. Poor skin turgor is indicative of fluid loss, which is why pinching the skin is a good test for dehydration.
9. Limit Your Intake Of Highly Salty Foods
Foods that are high in salt can affect proper hydration. These can include cured meats, salty snacks such as chips, and pickles.
Other foods that have sneakily high levels of salt are canned foods, pizzas, canned sauces, and surprisingly even some varieties of breakfast cereal. Always be sure to check labels for sodium amounts, as the daily recommended intake of sodium is at 4 grams.
Check out these hydration tips for athletes in this video from Mayo Clinic:
Staying hydrated can make a big difference in your health as it keeps you energized, moisturized, and even improves your mood. Thankfully, we are surrounded by water sources that can help keep us hydrated throughout the day. So, it’s up to us to keep these tips in mind and use them accordingly.
How do you keep yourself hydrated? Let us know in the comments section below!
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