When planning your nutrition, the focus is often on making healthy food choices and ﬂuid intake can be easily forgotten. With so many beverage options to choose from it can be easy to drink beverages that do not provide your body with adequate hydration. Or, it’s possible that you might forget to drink ﬂuids altogether, because you’re just too busy.
Adequate hydration is required for many different processes in the body to function properly such as easily pumping blood and wound healing. There are several different ways that your body gets rid of ﬂuids—primarily through sweat, but also through urine, breathing, and bowel movements.
Dehydration occurs when the body gets rid of more water and salts than it takes in. Some of the daily symptoms that one might experience from dehydration include headaches, dry skin, and dizziness.
DRINK FILTERED WATER
The cleanest and easiest form of hydration is ﬁltered water. Using a ﬁltration system will help to get rid of unwanted chemicals and toxins such as ﬂuoride and chlorine that are found in tap water and some bottled water. Reverse osmosis ﬁltration and carbon block ﬁlters are two ﬁltration system options for your house.
DRINK HERBAL TEAS
If you are in the mood for something warm to drink, herbal teas are another great form of hydration. Herbal teas feature therapeutic beneﬁts that may help with inﬂammation, stress, digestion, and headaches. Because herbal teas don’t have any caffeine they can be counted toward your daily water intake. Some examples of herbal teas are ginger, peppermint, and chamomile.
REDUCE ALCOHOL INTAKE
Alcohol is a main contributor to dehydration. If you are drinking multiple units of alcohol on a daily basis it would be beneﬁcial to reduce your intake. Otherwise you’ll always be playing catch up with your hydration and it will be difﬁcult to prevent chronic dehydration. (Good news—coffee is not a contributor to dehydration.)
Electrolytes help to bring water into the cells faster and more efﬁciently compared to drinking water by itself. It is especially great to add an electrolyte mix to your water when you have been exercising, after drinking alcohol, if you drink coffee on a daily basis, and if you have been in the sun.
INCREASE VEGETABLE INTAKE
Outside of drinking your ﬂuids, you can increase your hydration by eating more vegetables. Vegetables (and fruits) are primarily made up of water. If you’re not a fan of drinking water, eating more vegetables is an excellent way to keep your hydration levels up. Cucumber and lettuce contain 96 percent water, while zucchini, radish, and celery are close behind at 95 percent water.
DRINK COCONUT WATER
Coconut water is known as “nature’s sports drink.” A great time to reach for coconut water is after you have been sweating or at times when you feel dehydrated. Due to its higher natural sugar content, coconut water is not a direct replacement for ﬁltered water. Make sure to look for real coconut water to get its full beneﬁts, and stay away from ﬂavoured coconut waters as they often contain increased amounts of sugar.
Many people make the mistake of increasing their ﬂuid intake too quickly. Rather than doubling your current ﬂuid intake, start by slowly increasing by 1 to 2 cups per day. This incremental increase will help your body to gradually get accustomed to the new water levels in your body. If you increase your ﬂuid intake too fast, it will cause you to urinate more often which actually makes you get rid of the additional water and some electrolytes.
REDUCE AND REUSE
Another tip to help stay on top of your hydration is to get a reusable water bottle to carry with you everywhere you go. Stay away from plastic water bottles that are made with bisphenol-a (also known as BPA; a chemical that seeps into foods and drinks and may lead to negative health effects). Instead, use a glass or carry your own stainless steel water bottle.
Bonus—you’ll be keeping plastic out of your recycling bin!
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