As a nutrition student, it is hard to admit that one of my difficulties in following a healthy lifestyle is drinking enough water. For some reason, I oftentimes forget to drink water during the day, and only recently I have made a concerted effort to find ways to integrate it into my regular routine. Water has always seemed kind of boring to me, except of course after an intense workout when I can’t seem to think of anything but water! When it comes down to the numbers, water is one of the best things we can give our bodies. We lose an average of 2 cups of water just through normal daily perspiration, another 2 cups via breathing, and our digestive system uses a whopping 6 cups just during its daily activities… that is 10 cups of water, without adding exercise in!
Most people don’t drink enough fluid during the day, and it can be all too easy to replace water with sugar sweetened drinks, since those leave more of an impression on our tongues! Although water can come from many sources, it is important to try and include beverages (like pure water!) that contain less additives since our body has to work to digest those substances.
Below I listed some tips to amp up your hydration. Drink Up, the Open Finals are next week!
- All fluids from beverages and foods “count” toward hydration. This means that the soup you had for lunch, and the smoothie you had for breakfast, and even your coffee, all contribute water molecules to your body. This isn’t a pass to drink coffee all day and avoid water, however, if you aren’t a fan of plain water, try to include more water-based foods such as soups, and smoothies, along with fresh fruits and vegetables to increase hydration throughout the day.
- Bring a glass or stainless steel water bottle with you for the day and see how many times you normally fill it up. Make it a goal to double that over the next week or two if you find you are only filling up 1 or 2 times during the day. Plastic water bottles contain chemicals that are known carcinogens and endocrine disruptors, so try to stay clear. Buying plastic bottles can also add up, so it is worth it to invest in a glass or stainless steel bottle.
- “Dress up” your water with fresh fruits and herbs. Adding slices of lime, lemon, orange, or fresh berries to your water along with herbs such as fresh mint, basil or rosemary can bring new life to “boring” water. Keeping a water pitcher in your fridge with these additions can make water easier to choose instead of soda or juice.
- Try tea. Not all teas are created equal, and if you haven’t found one you like yet, don’t give up! I found that the 3-4 cups of coffee I used to drink during the day wasn’t because I wanted the caffeine, but was craving the comfort of something warm. Try replacing one cup of coffee with tea and see how your body responds. The traditional black, green and white teas are caffeinated, but can be overpowering for some people. Herbal teas are not caffeinated, and can be more pleasant to drink for people who struggle with black and green teas. Look for organic varieties of teas, as toxins and pesticides are more concentrated in dried herbs. One of my favorite places to find bulk herbs to make my own tea is Mountain Rose Herbs (mountainroseherbs.com), and also Herban Wellness (http://www.herbanwellness.net/) in Kirkland. A cup of herbal tea before bedtime can also soothe your body and help you fall asleep more quickly.
General Hydration Recommendations
- For a good indicator of hydration, look at the color of your urine. The more yellow it is, the more water your body needs. You are on the right track the closer it comes to clear.
- To estimate your fluid needs divide your body weight by 2. The resulting number is a good estimate of how many ounces your body needs. If you are a 200 pound person, aim for 100 oz of water during the day.
- Monitor your fluid loss during exercise-how much are you sweating? If you are someone who sweats a lot, weighing yourself before and after exercise can help estimate how much fluid you need to replace.
- Do not restrict fluid before, during or after a workout, your body needs water for the chemical reaction that creates energy for your workout.
- If you want to drink caffeinated beverages such as coffee to enhance your workout, wait until just before you hit the gym because caffeine has a diuretic effect.
Drink Up Slate!! Yes Derek, beer does count on Friday 🙂