Six Ways to Drink and Eat Right for Hydration
Well, we can pretty much say summer is now upon us! If you live in the Middle East like I do, this season can be very hot and even humid in many parts of the region! As temperatures soar, we can easily get dehydrated, especially if we are also spending long hours outdoors. In fact, extreme dehydration can cause symptoms such as: headaches, dizziness, drowsiness, muscle cramping, nausea and vomiting. If you are not sure how hydrated you are, simply check your urine first thing in the morning. If it’s a dark yellow or even orange yellow colour (like apple juice) it could mean you are not hydrated enough! A hydrated body produces a very pale and transparent yellow urine.
Since water makes up around 60-75% of our body weight, it is no wonder we need so much of it. Of course, drinking water to replenish what is lost from your body, through breathing, sweating and digestion, is the obvious answer. You may have heard of the famous ‘8×8 rule’. Generally, we are told we need to drink eight glasses of 8 ounces daily (which is just about 2 liters). However, this often also depends on our height, weight, how active we are, and the way we replenish our bodies with other beverages and foods throughout the day. Basically, there is no simple ‘one size fits all’. For some people, fewer than eight glasses might be enough while other people might need more, but the ‘8×8’ approach is a good general rule of thumb.
There are many tasteful and inviting ways to keep your body hydrated, so we thought we’d point out some simple and creative hydrating tips when it comes to food and drinks:
1. Spice Up Your Water!
Okay, so plenty of water is key, and that’s a no brainer. However, some of you may find drinking glass after glass of water throughout the day a little dull. Maybe, you simply need to add some flavor to your water, and this can easily be done with a range of fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices, without the extra calories!
– When it comes to infused water this one is a winner! Fill your glass jug with your drinking water and add cucumber slices, lemon slices and some mint leaves (alternatively you can add basil) and keep it in the fridge. Keep filling your glass with this refreshing and healthy water concoction and top up your glass jug with more water as the day moves along!
– Soak cinnamon sticks in fresh drinking water overnight and drink cold the next day. You can even add to it thinly sliced apples (thin slices provide more surface area for juices and flavor to seep out into the water). If you want to see more easy-to-make infused water recipes check out http://www.infusedwaters.com/category/recipes.
– Want something with both fizz and flavor? The watermelon, basil and sumac spritzer packs quite a punch! Our favourite Middle Eastern spice, sumac, with a slightly tangy lemony taste, compliments the aromatic basil quite nicely. To make this, simply put in the blender: 2 cups of seedless watermelon pieces, 5 fresh basil leaves and 2 teaspoons of ground sumac. Once blended, add the mixture into ice cubes and freeze. Put a few watermelon ice cubes in a glass and fill it up with your favourite sparkling water. Cheers!
2. Eat Your Fruits and Vegetables Raw (and plenty of them!)
As a rule of thumb, we should get about 20% of our daily water intake from fruits and vegetables. That’s pretty easy, because they’re packed with water. Here is a roundup of the ones with the highest water content (with their water percentages). These vegetables and fruits are also full of nutrients and fibers that help to absorb water content in your body better:
1. Lettuce: 96%
2. Cucumber & Celery: 95%
3. Zucchini & Tomatoes: 94%
4. Cabbage, Cauliflower, Spinach & Bell Peppers: 92%
5. Watermelon: 92%
6. Strawberries: 91%
7. Cantaloupe: 90%
8. Peaches: 89%
9. Oranges and Grapefruit: 88%
3. Chia Seeds.
Chia seeds are considered to be incredible super foods (they are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, antioxidants, iron and calcium) and what’s more, they happen to be amazing for hydration! They help to regulate your body fluid levels and retain electrolytes, vitamins, and minerals like potassium, sodium, and magnesium that our bodies need to function properly— key components to fighting dehydration. When you soak them in water, they swell up to ten times their original size. Be sure to soak them for about 20 minutes (until they become a chewy texture similar to tapioca pudding), as they become easier to digest and the nutrients are better absorbed in your body. You can add them to your oatmeal, smoothie, and salad or even to a homemade popsicle. Here is an easy recipe courtesy of https://cookinglsl.com/strawberry-chia-coconut-popsicles/ we want to share with you which is super hydrating and delicious:
Strawberry Chia Coconut Popsicles:
– 15 oz. coconut milk
– 1/4 cup chia seeds
– 4-5 tbsp honey
– 1 tsp lemon juice
– 10 large chopped strawberries
– 8 popsicle sticks
In a bowl, combine coconut milk, chia seeds (already soaked), lemon juice and honey. Mix to combine. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Soak popsicle sticks in hot water for 30 minutes. Take the popsicle mixture out of the fridge. Add the strawberries and stir to combine. Fill popsicle molds with the mixture. Insert popsicle sticks. Freeze for 8 hours or overnight. (Tip: to easily remove the frozen ice pops from the molds, run under hot water for 30 seconds and carefully pull them out).
4. Start your Day with Oatmeal!
Oatmeal is a great choice for breakfast. Not only is it hearty and filling, if can help you combat dehydration too. The oats in your bowl of oatmeal absorb the water or milk you use to cook it, so when you eat your bowl of oats you are well hydrated. To make it even more refreshing and naturally sweeter, you can add succulent fresh berries, such as blueberries, blackberries raspberries or strawberries (which all have high water content).
5. Skip Dry Heavy Snacks for Hydrating Snacks.
Avoid things like crackers, chips and pretzels, which are heavy on carbs and have low water content. They are also salty snacks, which increase the dehydration and make you thirstier too. Instead, go for yoghurts (plain and fruit flavored), cottage cheese, home made smoothies and lots of vegetables and fruits. Dip cucumbers, celery and cauliflower into low-fat labneh, tzatziki or hummus!
6. Go for Soups.
Soups have lots of water added to them during preparation. You can go for broth-based soups as they are the most hydrating, and it is even better when vegetables (raw or pureed) are added to it. Check out the hydrating cold soup recipes we previously recommended for you at The Wellness Project http://thewellnessproject.me/stay-hydrated-this-summer-with-these-6-refreshing-cold-soup-recipes/
Remember the best way to beat the heat this summer is to stay hydrated! Drink plenty of water and consume the right foods, rich in water. Always remember to go for ingredients that are fresh, organic and free from GMOs! And always avoid processed foods! Finally, from The Wellness Project Team, we wish you a wonderful and happy summer!
First picture credit: https://www.thefatkidinside.com/stay-hydrated-summer/