Importance of Staying Hydrated
You probably know how important it is to stay hydrated, but what about why hydration is critical for optimal health? Every system in our body relies on water for proper functioning. Adequate hydration helps with essential daily functions like regulating body temperature supporting digestion, and promoting nutrient absorption. Proper hydration is critical to optimal kidney function to ensure we're eliminating waste products and toxins from our body. Staying hydrated also keeps joints lubricated, enhances cognitive function, and boosts overall energy levels.
Proper hydration is vital during physical activity, as it helps prevent dehydration, muscle cramps, and fatigue.
So, if you want to perform at your best both physically and mentally, support your body by prioritizing hydration.
How do I Know if I am Optimally Hydrated?
Look out for these symptoms.
Should I Really Drink 8 Glasses of Water per Day?
Did you know that your hydration problem might not be about not drinking enough water?
That’s because healthy hydration isn’t just about drinking water. It’s about water AND electrolytes.
You lose both water and sodium when you sweat and both need to be replaced to prevent muscle cramps, headaches, and energy dips that result from:
Dehydration (less common)
Low electrolytes (more common)
Why Do Most People Only Replace the Water?
Because since the 1940s, we’ve been told to drink 8 glasses of water per day, thirsty or not. Some health fads or viral social media videos recommend you drink an entire gallon of water every day!
This recommendation is not necessarily good for optimal hydration and can even be dangerous.
Drinking beyond thirst isn’t always a good idea. Thirst is the way our bodies regulate blood volume and fluid balance. When you need more fluids, you get thirsty. And when you drink plain water beyond thirst, it dilutes blood electrolyte levels (especially sodium levels).
Some symptoms of low-sodium levels include headaches, low energy, cramps, confusion, and worse. Since these symptoms mimic dehydration symptoms, people often drink more water in an effort to feel better. This only exacerbates the problem.
The solution to your hydration problem isn’t to stop drinking water. It’s to drink water plus electrolytes.
Most people fall short on electrolytes. Sodium restriction, for instance, is celebrated as “heart healthy.” In reality, restricting sodium to fewer than 2.3 grams per day (in line with government recommendations) has been linked to higher rates of heart attack and stroke in heart disease patients. Five grams per day was the sweet spot for optimal health outcomes.
We need to address water quality. Unfortunately, many tap water sources are contaminated with harmful pollutants, like heavy metals, agricultural contaminants, and “forever chemicals” known as PFAS. Consuming these chemicals may have detrimental effects on our long-term health.
What Can I Do?
Not only is it good to switch up your hydration source to keep things interesting, getting hydration from sources besides water adds in minerals that support optimal hydration. This is also great for those who struggle with drinking enough water.
Strawberry Watermelon Mint Smoothie
This smoothie is packed with hydrating ingredients like watermelon and strawberry.
1 cup frozen strawberries
1 ½ cups diced watermelon
½ can full fat coconut milk
10 mint leaves
Juice from ½ lime
1 scoop of Protein Power [I recommend EQUIP Prime Protein Powder]
Blend all ingredients. Enjoy!
Tip - During melon season, chop them up and freeze in about 1-cup portions so that I can use them in smoothies at another time. This subtle smoothie doesn’t hit you with a strong sweet taste but rather a more subtle and delightful flavor from the ginger, cardamom and cinnamon.
½ can coconut milk
1 cup water
5 ice cubes
1 cup ripe cantaloupe, honeydew, or orange flesh melon
½ tsp cardamom
½ tsp ginger
½ tsp cinnamon
⅛ tsp vanilla extract
1 scoop protein powder
Blend all ingredients. Enjoy!
Eat These Top 10 Hydrating Foods
Hydration doesn't just come from drinking water. You actually get about 20% of the water you need from foods that you eat, particularly raw fruits and vegetables. Plus, these foods contain electrolytes like potassium and magnesium so they’re better for hydrating than water alone.
Add these ingredients into your meals to improve your hydration status.
Cabbage (water content increases when cooked)
Cauliflower (water content increases when cooked)
Melon Cucumber Salad
1 honeydew melon, peeled & chopped into cubes
2 cucumbers, chopped into cubes
1 tbsp mint, chopped finely
3 oz feta, crumbled
juice of 1 lemon
pinch sea salt
2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Combine ingredients together in a bowl and enjoy! Will keep in fridge for several days.
We all know that drinking water is good for us, especiallly when we regularly add electrolytes, either through a pinch of sea salt or an electrolyte supplement like; Trace Minerals Drops or LMNT Electrolyte Powder along with using a water filter system for our home.
I hope you'll consider trying some of these suggestions for adding both deliciousness and variety to your hydration needs.
Thanks for reading,