We all know that drinking water is a good – and essential – thing to do. But how much do we need to drink? And, besides water, what are the best beverages and foods to hydrate us? And, what is the most convenient and delicious way to flavor water? We have you covered in this post – our top tips for healthy hydration hacks!
Hack #1: How Much Water Do We Need?
Your individual water needs depend on many factors, including your health, your age, how active you are and where you live. No single formula fits everyone. Knowing more about your body’s need for fluids will help you estimate how much water to drink each day. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is:
- About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids for men
- About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women
These recommendations cover fluids from water, other beverages and food. About 20 percent of our daily fluid intake usually comes from food and the rest from drinks.
Hack #2: Besides Water, What Fluids Hydrate Well?
Water reigns supreme for hydration and can do the trick almost every time. However, we all get tired of just drinking water from time to time. There are quite a few additional beverages you can add to your list for hydration helpers.
- Milk. Whether you pick dairy, almond, cashew or soy, milk can provide an excellent source of hydration. Look for varieties with no-added sugar. Milk is a good post-workout drink as it can provide protein and carbohydrate which is needed for your muscles. In one study, drinking (dairy) milk helped people retain a third of the fluid they consumed over a two-hour follow-up period, and remain hydrated for over four hours. In this study the researchers found that milk was better than water for re-hydration, and is more effective at countering dehydration.
- Sparkling Water. Just adding a little fizz can make water more interesting. While sparkling water may not be ideal pre-, during or post-workout, it is a great option for when you are going out and need to reduce the alcohol you are drinking. Sparkling water can be great with meals and snacks during the day. There are some delicious commercial options, and you can DIY at home.
- Tea. Whether you like black, green or herbal, tea can help with your hydration goals. Teas that are caffeine-free are better at hydration versus those with caffeine. There are countless ways to enjoy tea, you can enjoy a RTD variety like Honest Tea or Pure Leaf (look for the unsweetened varieties), loose leaf or bag teas, and sachets with tea. Our favorite herbal teas include Yogi Tea’s Lemon Ginger, and Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Tea.
- Coconut Water. In really hot and humid weather or in a workout when you sweat a lot, you could need a little hydration with some added electrolytes. Electrolytes are minerals that our bodies need to maintain balance and include sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium. Coconut water provides potassium and sodium. Look for a brand that has no added sugar varieties like Harmless Harvest and Zico. You can get electrolytes through fruits and vegetables also like bananas, melon, citrus, green leafy vegetables, and beets.
- Juice. Juice is hydrating, and to lower the sugar content you can dilute with water. Fresh juice is a good option, and may not have added sugar. Check out BluePrint for some wholesome juice options. All foods and beverages can fit into a healthy lifestyle. If you are not sure how much sugar to be consuming, we can help you. Email us at email@example.com to schedule a session with one of our Registered Dietitian Nutritionists.
Hack #3: Flavor Your Water
Making water more “fun” is easier than ever to do. You can slice up your favorite fruit – orange, lemon, strawberry – and add to your water bottle or glass. For a savory twist, try sliced cucumber and lemon in your water – delicious, refreshing, and a little different.
Another option that we love at B.Komplete is to flavor our water with Stur Water Enhancer. Our favorite flavors are Coconut Pineapple and Boldy Blue and Blackberry. Just a few squirts, and your water will take on a vibrant flavor and color. Your kids will like this too! Using Stur is the perfect way to encourage a picky drinker to enjoy water.
Hack #4: Hydrate with a Smoothie
Smoothies are a delicious way to add nutrients and hydration into your diet. A smoothie can be as simple as throwing some ice, fruit and milk into a blender and blending until smooth – to as complex as adding ancient grains, fresh herbs, and organic protein powder to make a masterpiece (but, will that taste good?!). Our tips for the most hydrating ingredients to add into your smoothie include: water, any unsweetened milk (dairy, almond, cashew or soy), veggies (try spinach, cucumber, celery or kale), and – of course – fruit (try oranges, berries, and melon). Check out our recipe for a scrumptious Pineapple Smoothie and visit the Green Blender Recipe Blog for several hydrating smoothie recipes.
Whichever options you try, let us know in the comments below! The most important thing is to stay hydrated, in a healthy way, all year round. If you find it hard to remember to drink water, perhaps add it as a reminder in your calendar/phone each hour. Healthy hydration is the foundation for physical and mental activity.