Depending on your age, you are made up of anywhere between 55 to 75% water, which means replenishing yourself daily with clean, filtered water is essential to healthy living. Staying hydrated helps regulate your body temperature, keeps your joints lubricated, delivers nutrients to your cells and improves your sleep. If you don’t stay hydrated you may start feeling a range of symptoms. Early signs of dehydration can be dry mouth, cracked or dry skin, especially on the lips, and decreased skin turgor or plumpness. Prolonged dehydration leads to concentrated or dark urine, muscle cramps, headaches, fatigue and constipation. Dr. Brittany Katz, internal medicine physician at Westmed, has four tips to help you stay hydrated this summer.
- Eat Hydrating Foods
- Sleep for Hydration
- Get your Electrolytes In
- Drink Water Throughout the Day
It turns out that drinking water isn’t the only way to stay hydrated. There are many fruits and vegetables that have a high water content and can help to keep you hydrated throughout the day. Some that are the highest in water content are cucumbers, cabbage, spinach, celery, zucchini, berries and melon (though the latter two are also high in sugar and should be consumed in moderation). Apples, pears, oranges and pineapples are also great sources of water. Again, consume in moderation as they’re also high in sugar.
A recent study shows that people getting eight hours of sleep per night actually wake up more hydrated than those getting only six hours of sleep. Researchers found that later in the sleep cycle after the six hour mark, your body releases a hormone called vasopressin, which helps with hydration. So getting enough sleep can actually help you stay regularly hydrated.
Make sure you include electrolytes in your daily hydration routine. Electrolytes are special minerals found in our food and clean and natural water that conduct electricity when dissolved. The most common electrolytes that our bodies need are sodium, chloride, potassium, bicarbonate, magnesium and calcium. To get them in your diet you can pick up electrolyte packs without added sugars to add to your water or make your own with a combination of sea salt and lemon juice.
It’s important to start your day off right with some water (not just coffee!). I also recommend that your water consumption is spread out throughout the day — not too much in the evening though or you’ll be waking up to go to the bathroom! Proper hydration is different for everyone. At least 8 glasses a day is a good rule of thumb, but definitely add extra after exercise or on hot days like we’ve had this summer. If you’re having trouble drinking enough water, sometimes you just need a good reminder – whether it’s a water bottle with reminders of how much to drink or milestones to cheer you on or alerts on your phone. It also helps to have something tasty to drink, so flavoring your water with fruits or herbs (lemon, lime, green apple, and mint are a few of my personal favorites) can help make it easier to stay hydrated!