Often, when we think we are hungry, we are actually dehydrated. The average American drinks a little more than 4 cups of plain water a day, with the daily total sitting at only 13.4 cups. Only 48% of that water intake comes from beverages other than plain drinking water and 18 % comes from food. The good news is Americans on average are down to 44 gallons of soda per year, and up to about 58 gallons of water, which is a positive role reversal within in the last 10 years. So, what is the big deal about drinking water? Today, I am sharing 4 ways we can infuse our hydration to boost it's power and why it's important for your overall wellness.
Our bodies are over 65% water. Water acts as a flushing mechanism for free radicals, bacteria and viruses that could impact our vital organs. Even mild dehydration can impact energy levels, which can affect the body’s ability to fight off illnesses like kidney and urinary tract infections, and keep our skin healthy from top to bottom
A basic rule for hydration is to drink 8 glasses of water a day (64 oz). I drink way more than this, but 8 glasses will give your body the minimum of what it needs to more easily fight off bacteria and viruses, keep your energy and sodium levels in check, and keep your digestive system running smoothly.
Tip 1: Try Salty H2O
Put down the sugar after your workouts, at lunch or before bed, and go for the IONIC Salts!
Equally important to hydrating is making sure to get adequate electrolytes. Electrolytes (or Ionic Salts) create an electrical charge with certain minerals in the body when they connect with water-otherwise known as organic ENERGY to help get trace minerals to your cells and clean your blood. As with anything, it is important to take into account your age and medical needs before adding something new to your routine, and hydration is no exception. For people 50-80 years old there are particular health needs that should be taken into account before adding salts to any fluid intake, so that your salts stay balanced.
Adding ¼ tsp of Ionic Salts to 32 oz. of water, 1 x/day for 30 days is a great rule of thumb to start with for anyone between the ages of 50-80 to give the stomach an opportunity to get used to the ionic balance, before adding another serving to your daily routine. My recommendation is to purchase Himalayan Salts, which have over 84 trace mineral elements found in our bodies (including Zinc, Magnesium and Iron among other major minerals) that help our cells get nutrients where they need to be and keep our bodies working properly. Add 1 drop of peppermint or lemon oil to your 32 oz. of water (equal to 2 16 oz water bottles) for flavor, or add your salts to coconut water (also very hydrating) for an added burst of natural energy.
Tip 2: Go For Water Dense Veggies
In addition to hydrating with Ionic salts, we should be getting even more hydration through our diet. Roughly 20% of our daily H2O intake can come from solid foods, especially fruits and vegetables. Here are my favorite top hydrating foods, all of which are at least 90% water by weight
-Cucumbers, have a water content of 96.4%
Although they are typically a summer veggie, they can be eaten year round, and super hydrators with the highest water content of any solid food—making it perfect for salads, sliced and served with some hummus for a healthy hydrating snack, added to water with mint and lemon.
-Celery has a Water content of 95.4%
Celery has very few calories at 6 per stalk and is packed with fiber to keep you satiated longer.
Celery also has folate and vitamins A, C, and K, and due to it's high water content, can neutralize stomach acid and can be a natural remedy for heartburn and acid reflux too. .
-Green peppers have a water content of: 93.9%
Bell peppers of all shades have a high water content, but green peppers are actually more hydrating than red and yellow peppers which are about 92% water. And contrary to popular belief, green peppers contain just as many antioxidants as their slightly sweeter siblings.
Peppers are great snacks to slice up when you get home from work, to take on the golf course or to add to a dinner salad.
You can add celery to a pure green smoothie or drink like this one I like from from Paleo Magazine:
4 stalks of celery heart, chopped into large chunks
1 small cucumber, peeled, chopped, and the seeds removed
juice from ½ lime
½ cup water
½ cup ice
Place everything into a good blender and blend well.
I like to add mint to my cucumber/celery drinks for an even more refreshing mix of hydration
3. Go For Fruity H2O
Another great way to get in our water through food is by sticking with low glycemic fruits that encourage hydration without a lot of sugars, such as the following:
Star fruit has a water content of: 91.4%
This tropical fruit, also known as carambola, comes in sweet and tart varieties and has a really juicy texture similar to pineapple. It looks great in a fruit salad or as an edible garnish on the rim of a summer cocktail or dessert dish, and it's super rich in antioxidants, especially epicatechin—a heart-healthy compound also found in red wine, dark chocolate, and green tea.
One note of caution: People with kidney problems should avoid star fruit because of its high levels of oxalic acid.
Strawberries have a water content of: 91.0%
All berries are good foods for hydration, but juicy red strawberries have the highest water content of the berry family. Raspberries and blueberries both hover around 85% water, while blackberries are at about 88.2%.
The combo of carbohydrates, fiber, and protein found in Strawberries make a great post-workout recovery food. You can add both strawberries and raspberries to almost any smoothie to give it a kick of extra hydration and taste!
Tip 4: Hydrate with Tea
We know we need to eat more water heavy fruits and veggies and that we need to drink more water, but a lot of people don't like to drink plain water, which turns them off to getting enough for their body's health. So what I suggest is to infuse your plain water with leaves from plants like mint, verbena, linden, and balm, which give a pleasant aroma and light flavor to the water in and can be a satisfying alternative for people who don’t enjoy drinking plain water. To make infusion a little easier, there are reusable water bottles that now have an infusion container with them so that you can contain the loose leaves, change out your flavors, and wash out easily.
Making sure that you get enough healthy fruits, veggies, minerals and flavor in your hydration will create healthy habits and keep you on track for avoiding illness, infection and skin issues while helping your body digest and flush out free radicals at the same time, so you can feel great all year long!