Raise your hand if you feel personally victimized by your lack of hydration skills. Okay, but by now you might be asking… uhh well, how the heck do I even know if I’m hydrated or not? You may go about your day drinking lots of water, or just rely on other liquids, not knowing the difference right off the bat. Do you ever look back on your day and think, holy crapola, have I had anything but coffee and a glass of wine today? Eeeeep. Well, don’t fret – because I’m gonna give you a bit of info on hydration and some easy tips to help kick dehydration in the butt.
First off, how do you know if you’re well-hydrated? Well, other than Magic School-bussing it all up inside your body, there are a few tell-tale signs. Basically, what you need to know is that every single system in your body relies on H2O. It helps to protect your organs, balances your levels of electrolytes, helps to deliver nutrients to your cells, keeps you energized and mentally alert – just to name a few! Severe dehydration can be fatal, so that’s not what I mean when I say you may not be hydrating enough. But you may actually be experiencing signs of mild dehydration on a regular basis, without really knowing that you’re not getting in enough of that integral liquid life-force (yeah that’s an intense way to put it, I know).
What I want you to think about is all of the amazing things that H2O does within your body (see above). If you’re not providing yourself with adequate hydration, then you’re not helping any of those functions – and that’s pretty obvious, folks. How much hydration you need will vary from one day to the next and one person to the next, depending on a few factors – including your activity level, weight, and hormones. The baseline is around 8 cups of water a day for women and 13 for men – but, like I said before, factors could vary, so I would suggest making sure to keep up on a consistent fluid intake throughout the day and not just rely on those baselines.
Also, it’s important to think about how many liquids you’re consuming that may have a dehydrating effect – like alcohol and caffeinated beverages. For good measure, I would suggest that for every cup of coffee or glass of wine, grab a glass of water too. Another tell-tale sign is to check your pee. In most cases, the clearer your urine is, the more hydrated you are (unless you’re taking b-vitamins, which turns your pee into a freakin’ neon rave). Now, just a heads up – and this might be a bit confusing, but you can absolutely drink too much water as well and end up on the other end of the spectrum – which also disrupts your electrolyte balance. I know, I know, it can be a bit confusing, but it does take a lot to get to this point, so just be aware of getting in your daily intake without overdoing it to the extreme.
Listen, I understand that this can be a lot to think about all of the time. So, that’s why I wanted to put together a couple of easy tips and tricks to help you stay hydrated af.
Set Yourself Up Properly
While drinking water is fantastic, you do need to set your body up right, in order to stay nice and hydrated. And we know that H2O helps to balance your electrolytes, but you do need to get them from somewhere. Electrolytes and carbohydrates can help your body to absorb the fluids that you drink. Commonly these include minerals, like sodium, potassium and calcium. They’re important for healthy nerve and muscle function and can be lost through sweat. You can get these nutrients from healthy food sources like fruits and veggies. But if you’re looking for a quick way to boost your electrolytes, add a pinch of sea salt and a splash of natural sweetener like honey or maple syrup to your water, so you can get in some of those integral minerals with a bit of carbohydrates to help with the delivery of that hydration into your cells. Woo!
Jazz Up That H2O
I get it, not everyone likes drinking water. Some people don’t like the taste or they may just want to be drinking something else (no, wine doesn’t count as hydration). Why not add something fun to your water that also has added health benefits? Lemon is an obvious go-to, as it pairs nicely and is so easy to cut, grab and toss into your water. I would suggest keeping the peel on your lemon if you do this, because there are wonderful nutrients called bioflavonoids contained within the skin. And while you really do have to eat the skin itself to get the full benefits, having it soak in the water you’re already drinking definitely helps!
Here are some more tasty options to add right into your glass, into a bottle, a jug or a glass water dispenser:
- Cucumber and mint – cut up cucumber into chunks or strips, and add the mint in whole
- Orange and ginger – sliced ginger and orange pieces with peel on
- Melon – chunks of fresh or frozen watermelon, cantaloupe or honeydew dropped right in
- Watermelon and basil – chunks of fresh or frozen watermelon, add the basil in whole
- Chia seeds – add in whole chia seeds with fresh fruit for a fun fibre-filled bevvy
- Berries and rosemary – berries of choice fresh or frozen, with a spring of rosemary
- Coconut ice – freeze coconut water into ice cubes and add to your water
Eat Your Water
Did you know that there are actually a lot of hydrating foods? And of course they come in the form of healthy fresh fruits and veggies – are you even surprised? Some of these tasty treats include cucumber, watermelon, celery, strawberries, lettuce, eggplant, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, pears – just to name a few. It’s pretty obvious that consuming hydrating foods is going to help up your intake and balance those electrolytes. Not to mention all of the other awesome benefits, like fresh vitamins, minerals and fibre. Listen, just eat your fruits and veggies, folks. I feel like that’s the first time in history that you’ve ever heard a nutritionist tell you to do this. Wow, I’m pretty freakin’ ground-breaking here, right?!
There’s An App For That
Since we’re all glued to our phones these days, why not put it to good use to benefit your health as well? Some people find it really handy to have constant reminders or apps on their phones that help them to keep up their fluid intake throughout the day. Apps like Daily Water, Hydrate Daily, Hydro Coach, Water Drink Reminder and Water Logged are a great start. You can also set reminders, tasks or alarms on your phone throughout the day that flag times to grab that bottle of H2O. Just remember that it doesn’t have to be super complicated to be effective.
Get a Cute Water Bottle
Not only is it better for the environment, but if you have your water bottle on you most of the time, you’re more likely to fill it up and actually use it. One of my personal favourites is the 18/8 double walled, stainless steel water bottle from Gaiam. It’s 17oz, so it holds just over 2 cups of water, stays cool for up to 24 hours or hot for up to 12 hours. I love the no-leak vacuum seal and non-sweat or condensation construction, so I can just throw it right into my bag without worrying it’s going to get everything else I own all wet. They’re also non-toxic and BPA free, cause when you’re trying to hydrate and live your best life, that crap is not cute.
Gaiam is one of my favourite health and wellness companies, because every product they put out into the world helps to better someone’s life. So to help you on your journey to hydration, I wanted to offer you a way to win your very own prize pack from Gaiam Canada, including one of those cute printed water bottles, a reversible printed yoga mat and a duffle bag!
All you’ve gotta do is check out my Instagram to enter and for contest details. Contest closes on July 6th at 5pm EST. Good luck and stay hydrated!
Now, go grab a glass of water!