HAPPY JULY 4th weekend! During the hot days ahead, it’s more important than ever to stay hydrated. In fact, studies show that millions of people are dehydrated every day and don’t realize it. Do you suffer from any of these common signs of dehydration?
3. Brain fog or confusion
5. Muscle weakness or cramps
7. Dry, itchy skin
Also, sometimes we think we’re hungry when we’re actually just thirsty. Our bodies are smart but we can get confused about that! So remember to re-hydrate! You may be surprised by how much your symptoms improve or disappear.
Imagine flowers in a vase that are wilting. What happens when you refill the vase with water? You can see them come back to life! That’s what happens to your cells when they are dehydrated and then re-hydrated. Of course, it’s best to hydrate BEFORE you are even thirsty (or wilted). The rule of thumb is that if you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated.
Even if we know we should stay hydrated, many of us are plain bored with plain water. And that means that sometimes we grab a drink that seems more exciting, but can have the opposite effect – like a soda or sports drink. Many of these contain sugar and sodium, which can actually cause you to feel thirstier! Still, drinking something is better than nothing – that’s why you’ll often hear me say that healthy food and drink choices are a matter of “good, better, best.” So what are some better choices that are as good for us as plain water, but not as boring? Read on for some great options and see my blog for delicious recipes that will keep you feeling refreshed even on the hottest days!
Water is great for weight control and feeling energized – but what can we drink when we’re bored with plain water?
Try these additions and alternatives that won’t add pounds or zap your energy:
1) Mother Nature’s “Sports Drink” (without the artificial sweeteners and colors). Coconut Water is naturally high in electrolytes such as potassium and magnesium, as well as antioxidants. If you can get fresh coconut water right out of the coconut – that’s the best! But most people buy it bottled. Read the label to be sure it’s 100% coconut water. For runners and travelers, I recommend freeze-dried coconut powder. You can take it with you in a zip bag and add it to your water for replenishment!
2) Berry Cubes. Fill an ice cube tray with the juice and pulp from berries! Put 8 to 10 blackberries, blueberries or raspberries in a bowl, and using a tablespoon, mash them – press down on the fruit repeatedly (a few pieces at a time) until you have a mixture of the fruit pulp and juice. Then pour/scoop the fruit into the ice tray’s individual compartments and freeze. When you’re ready for a drink of water, pop out a cube or two and plop them into your glass.
3) Fruit Infusions. You can also freeze summer fruit that’s about to be overripe – pineapple, peaches, kiwi, watermelon. And of course, you can squeeze the juice from a fresh lemon or other citrus fruits in ice cube tray compartments and freeze, or infuse a whole pitcher or jug with sliced fruits and berries. I love the mixture of blueberry and lemon, and the flavors of watermelon, cucumber and mint (see recipes below!) The longer the water steeps, the more intense the flavor.
4) Off the Shelf. You can also buy infused waters off the shelf; make sure you select ones that contain no added sodium, sugars or preservatives.
5) Go Green. Vegetable juices, especially green juices are a great way to get your fluids and a lot of nutrition. Home juicing (my favorite: spinach, kale, parsley, celery, cucumber, grapefruit, orange, and lemon) or cold-pressed at your local juice bar is best. There are also plenty of off-the-shelf versions; again, be sure to read the labels.
Would you like to learn what to look for in a label and make grocery shopping healthier and easier? Come for a Grocery Store Tour with me and learn everything you need to know!
6) Eat Your Hydration. Summer is a great time to choose fruits and veggies that will help keep you hydrated and provide nutritional boosts. Some favorites include:
• Welcome Watermelon. It’s in the name, and it’s in season all summer! This hydrating fruit is 92% water and in just one serving you get about five ounces of water. Watermelon also has a very high level of citrulline, an amino acid that our body uses to make arginine, another amino acid that’s related to vascular health. It’s also an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin A, and the antioxidant lycopene. Try my favorite Watermelon pops or slushy below:
• ¼ seedless watermelon, cubed
• 1 cucumber, peeled and sliced
• 5 mint leaves
• ½ cup ice
Mix all ingredients in a blender. Drink and enjoy or pour into popsicle molds and freeze!
• Cantaloupe and honeydew melons are naturally sweet sources of vitamin A and 90% water by weight.
• Grapefruit is tart, tangy, and a refreshing 91% water. It also contains powerful phytonutrients called limonoids, which form enzymes that spark a reaction in the liver that helps to make toxic compounds more water soluble for elimination from the body.
• Cucumbers contain mostly water, which makes them very cooling. They are a great source of vitamin B and K, rich in potassium and magnesium and contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatories that fight disease.
• Celery contains potassium, calcium and magnesium, with 95% water content.
Whatever water source you choose, you’ll be doing your body a huge favor by staying hydrated! HAPPY 4th!