The kids may be headed back to school, but one step outside will tell you that summer weather is still in full swing. With daily temperatures reaching into the nineties, it's especially important to remember to stay cool and hydrated.
So how much water does our body really need? Not surprisingly that old rule of thumb, eight glass per day, isn’t entirely accurate. Everyone’s requirements are different based on size, activity level and state of health.
For a more personalized estimate of how many ounces of water you should be drinking each day, try this simple calculation: your weight in pounds divided by two. So, if you weigh 150 pounds... that’s about 75 ounces of water.
Thirsty? You're already dehydrated Drink plenty of water throughout the day, beginning when you first get up. Strictly limiting caffeinated beverages like coffee, tea and soda also helps because they are actually dehydrating. If you really can’t give up that morning coffee or afternoon Big Gulp, at least be sure to add an extra glass of water for each of those beverages you consume. Also remember that you'll need to drink more water before, during and after exercise or when spending time out in the hot sun.
Our bodies are about 60% water Proper hydration allows our bodies to regulate body temperature and maintain a balanced pH. Water is also vital for nutrient absorption, digestion and of course, kidney health. In fact, headaches, fatigue, hunger and even mood swings may actually be signs that your body is thirsty.
Try a hydration meditation
Squeeze in some down time while re-hydrating brain and body. Drinking a glass of water offers a mini-break while also helping to regulate your breathing. You might even want to try a quick mindfulness exercise called "triangle breathing" between each sip. Breath in, hold, and breath out in equal counts. When you finish your glass, you can return to your day, focused and refreshed.
Eat your water
Fruits and vegetables are another great way to stay hydrated throughout the day. They're perfect for snacking and will also add healthy flavor to that plain glass of water. Try blending with ice for a slushy smoothie or freeze in popsicle molds as a fun refresher. Here are just a few ideas from PCRM.org for inspiration:
- Cucumbers are 97% water, the highest of any solid food.
- Iceberg lettuce is a close second with 96% water.
- Celery is also 96% water and contains folate and vitamins A, C, and K.
- Radishes contain 95% water as well as plenty of antioxidants.
- Tomatoes are 95% water and also high in lycopene.
- Bell Peppers all have about 92% percent water content, and come in a rainbow of colors.
- Watermelon is 92% water and contains the powerful cancer-fighting antioxidant lycopene.
- Spinach is 91% water and rich in lutein, potassium, fiber, and folate.
- Berries are all great sources of water, but Strawberries have the most at 91%.
- Broccoli and Cauliflower are over 90% water, plus filled with lots of vitamins and phytonutrients.
- Grapefruit is 90% water and high in vitamin C.
Keep it simple
Most of us know to stay away from colas and sugary drinks but also remember to watch out for flavored waters, juices and other so-called "healthy" beverages. A fancy label may catch your eye but always be sure to check the ingredients and nutrition facts. Sports, energy, smoothie and juice drinks often contain large amounts of sugar and even sparkling or soda waters may have added sodium and sweeteners.
Finally, filtering your water for contaminants like heavy metals, bacteria and toxins is certainly a good idea (no one wants to be drinking that stuff) but do check with your doctor regarding specialty waters such as distilled, mineral, purified, spring, ionized, or alkaline. Regular tap water generally falls into a "neutral" pH range while specially treated waters can fall farther toward alternate ends of the spectrum - being either devoid of all trace minerals (soft or acidic) or higher in mineral content (alkaline). A glass or two may not make a big difference but if you're relying solely on these sources, they may not always be the best choice depending on your specific health status. Feeling confused? When in doubt, keep it simple... plain, clear drinking water is best.