Tips For Hydration
Contributed by Katia Herman
Integrative Health Coach & Fitness Trainer
Proper hydration makes for healthier bodies, both inside and out. Keeping yourself hydrated helps your brain to function more optimally, promotes better skin and hair, supports cleansing your liver, gives more energy, and improves cardiovascular health.
Here is a list of some super hydrating, nourishing foods to include to your Summer diet, each with their own additional nutritional benefits!
92% water. Full of Lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, watermelon may be able to reduce your risk of cancer and is loaded with vitamin A and C. This low calorie fruit makes for a perfect Summer snack! Add it to your salad, or just cut it up and enjoy!
95% water. Offering a good dose of magnesium, Vitamin K and potassium, cucumbers are also good for your skin. Because they are very low in calories, cucumbers are great to include in a weight loss regime!
96% water. Lettuce (think romaine, arugula, red leaf, butterhead, mesclun, etc.) should be eaten as much as possible! Not only does lettuce help hydrate you, it is packed with folate, fiber, vitamins K and A, and helps to keep your immune system healthy. Greens eaten daily promotes healthier hearts, reduces risk of cancer, and lowers blood pressure.
up to 96% water. Bone broth is made from water and bones (and often veggies) cooked for a long time to gain collagen and nutrients from the bones, including magnesium and calcium. Bone broth can increase immune function, help balance hormones, strengthen your bones, detoxify the liver, prevent skin aging, and supports healthy digestion. (Try to eat organic, grass fed bone broth!)
88% water, this summer fruit is high in Vitamin A and potassium and packed with antioxidants that can help digestion, allergy relief, and improve skin. Also, properties in the skin of a peach have been linked to the reduction of cancerous tumors, so enjoy as many as you can this Summer! (While I suggest buying most all fruit and vegetables organic, I especially encourage you to eat only organic peaches, as they are on the list of foods highest in harmful pesticides.)
On the reverse side, here are some foods most likely to dehydrate you, so be aware of them as all of them have many negative health effects. Try to lower your intake of the following:
Caffeine has a well-known diuretic effect and can inhibit sodium reabsorption. Everyone reacts differently to caffeine, so try to get to know your body and restrict your daily caffeine intake to what works best for you. One or two cups of drip coffee is most people’s limit before the caffeine is damaging to the nervous system, stress levels and hydration levels. Tea has much less caffeine than coffee, so play around with what works best for you! Remember: if you workout in the morning right after your cup of coffee- make sure you drink extra water to stay balanced and hydrated!
While sodium is necessary for your body to function properly, too much sodium can cause dehydration and wreak havoc on your body. Our culture is guilty of adding too much salt to food- from fast food, frozen foods, cured meats, canned foods, processed foods and most restaurant meals. Be aware of how much sodium you are consuming and since there is no amount of water you can drink to balance the negative effects of too much sodium in your diet, lower your intake of it for a healthier life!
To put it simply, the main reason alcohol causes dehydration is it increases the bodies output of urine. Due to how the body reacts to alcohol, drinking water can help with the dehydration but cannot eliminate it. In other words, after a night of drinking, even if you drink water all night, your body will still be dehydrated . The best way to avoid dehydration from alcohol is to reduce how much you drink, especially at one time! Besides, alcohol has many adverse side effects, from increasing mood disorders, messing with hormones and sleep, lessening energy and brain function and an increased risk of cancer, heart disease and liver disease.
The excessive amounts of added sugar in the American diet is nearly an epidemic. Be aware of hidden added sugar in processed foods, canned foods, desserts, breads and pastries, and of course sugary drinks like soda and fruit juice. High blood sugar causes dehydration, makes you fat, and causes increased risk of almost every other chronic disease including cancer, diabetes and heart disease. The best way to stay healthy is to avoid added sugars. Try to get your sugar from whole foods such as fruit, organic dairy and sweet veggies!