How-To Guides

8 Of The Best Drinks To Stay Hydrated (And 3 Of The Worst!)
8 Of The Best Drinks To Stay Hydrated (And 3 Of The Worst!)
12.22.22 Staying hydrated throughout the day should be one of the most important items on your everyday to-do list. And although you’re probably aware that water is the best choice of beverage, you might be wondering what else can you fill your water bottle with that will have the same effect. We get it, water can sometimes become pretty boring and plain, and that’s why we’ve compiled a list of the best (and some of the worst) drinks you can intake to quench your thirst. Water Obviously, plain water still needs to be on this list as it is the number one beverage that will keep you hydrated without adding any other ingredients to the table. Now, that being said, not every water is “created” equally and some might be better than others. Water is a natural resource coming from our incredible planet, but depending on where you bottle it, it can contain more or less health-boosting minerals. When bottled at the source, your water contains a plethora of trace minerals that naturally occur in the soil and rocks the water flows through. The further from the source, the fewer the number of minerals. Trace minerals found in water are important for your overall health and well-being as they help optimize your body systems, helping strengthen your immune function, balance out your hormones, maintain healthy pH levels, and even increase your energy production. Trace minerals like magnesium, zinc, phosphate, potassium and iron are involved in almost all processes in the human body and they’re incredibly important for the optimal function of all of your organs, muscles, and tissue. Many water brands artificially add minerals to their water to increase the overall levels of micronutrients, but since they’re synthetic and not natural, they are known to cause digestive issues in some people who are sensitive. So, when you can, choose naturally mineral-rich water that’s been bottled at the source. Tea Tea has been one of the most popular beverages for thousands of years. Eastern cultures have been using different forms of tea for a large variety of reasons, from spiritual and holistic to ceremonial. Some of these unique and rare teas are still considered to be extremely valuable and special, with prices climbing up to $600 000 per pound.  Whether you choose green, black, white, or herbal, drinking a cup of tea will definitely help keep you hydrated while adding a variety of powerful antioxidants to the mix. Tea is rich in a variety of different polyphenols which are known to help lower inflammation and fight free radicals and their oxidative damage. This is especially important when your immune system is not working in its optimal way and you need help to prevent infections and diseases. Lemonade (Pure) If all you need is a little bit of a change in taste, squeeze some lemon into your water or make yourself a proper lemonade. Just keep the sugar out of it. Lemons are rich in vitamin C and a variety of antioxidants, they help flush out toxins from your system and prevent kidney stones, and they even help increase your body’s iron absorption. You might have heard of the “morning lemon water” trend that’s become popular in recent years, and it’s due to its ability to jump start your metabolism and aid in digestion that more and more people seem to get on board with it every single day. Fruit-Infused Water Adding sliced fruit to your water bottle is a great way of keeping your tastebuds surprised and excited about maintaining your daily hydration levels. And by switching up your fruit choices, you can enrich your water with plenty of different vitamins and powerful fruit micronutrients that can further support your health. Oranges will add more vitamin C, berries will bring a bunch of different antioxidants, and watermelon will enrich your water with citrulline, an important amino acid that may help lower your blood pressure. The best way to infuse your water is literally by slicing whole fruit and letting it steep in your water bottle. Avoid buying artificially-made extracts and sugary syrups as they’re only adding to overall inflammation and even making you more dehydrated. Electrolytes Sometimes your body is in need of deeper hydration due to excessive sweating that’s causing precious minerals, specifically salt, to leave your body. That’s why electrolyte-rich drinks were created to help maintain a healthy electrolyte balance within your body. Unfortunately, plenty of these drinks also contain large amounts of sugars and other artificial additives, so even though they’re a good choice when you’re dehydrated, choose brands that are sugar-free and as natural as possible. Rehydration with  healthy electrolytes helps prevent muscle cramps, reduce headaches, improve your overall energy levels and mood, help increase oxygen transportation, and so much more. Coconut Water Naturally rich in electrolytes, coconut water is an excellent beverage of choice to keep you hydrated during the day. It’s also low in sugar and overall calories, as well as free of fats and cholesterol. Just make sure you’re getting the all-natural kind as there are plenty of coconut waters on the market that contains added sugars, artificial additives, and even high-fructose corn syrup. An extra bonus: if you can simply crack open a real coconut and drink straight from the source, that would be ideal. Smoothies Smoothies are another popular trend that doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon, and for good reason. Depending on the ingredients you use to make it, you can turn your smoothie into a real hydration powerhouse with superfoods that will do wonders for your immune system and overall health. On the other hand, you can also make a smoothie that will hinder your hydration goals, so don’t just choose the first smoothie recipe that you find on social media. Be smart about the ingredients you’re putting in your smoothie and choose only whole foods that will naturally help hydrate you. These include fruits like oranges, lemons, and watermelon, and vegetables like cucumber, celery, and zucchini. Avoid high-sugar fruits and added sugars, as well as any pre-made fruit extracts. Bone Broth Drinking bone broth might sound slightly weird and although some people really do drink it straight from their bottle, others ensure to cook with it and add to their daily hydration goals by sipping on a healthy soup. Whatever way you choose to add bone broth into your diet, you’re doing something extremely beneficial for the health of your digestive system and your gut microbiome. Bone broth is rich in collagen that promotes the health of your skin, joints, cartilage, and even eyesight. It’s also rich in a variety of nutrients and salts, helping you keep electrolytes and your pH at a healthy level. You can make your own by simply cooking animal bones for a long time (about 24 hours) or you can get the store-bought bone broth. Just make sure the formula is as clean as possible and avoid any artificial ingredients, additives, fillers, and added sugars. What Not To Drink When Thirsty In addition to talking about the best possible drink choices to count towards your everyday hydration goals for the day, it’s important to touch on those drinks that you’re best without. These include all artificial sodas and juices, sugary drinks, and of course, fast food milkshakes. Here are three popular beverages many people take daily which can really be harmful to your health, especially if taken in hopes they will quench your thirst. Coca-Cola (And Other Sodas) Plenty of people cannot imagine their day without a cup of this brown, sparkly drink, and although it may be delicious in taste, it’s completely made out of artificial ingredients and chemicals, not to mention way too much sugar. Coca-cola and other similar sodas are known for their potentially harmful effects on your body, from inflammation and digestive disruptions to increasing the risk of obesity. It’s also caffeinated, which furthermore doesn’t help with adequate hydration. And it seems like the sugar-free versions aren’t any better. Store Bought Juices Almost all store-bought fruit juices are full of added sugars, mostly due to increasing their shelf life. Have you ever looked at the expiration date of a store-bought juice and seen two years behind the date of production? The sugar and other added preservatives are mostly why. Stay away from these processed juices and rather invest in a good juicer, get real fruit and vegetables, and simply make your own! Milkshakes Unless you’re making your own milkshake at home, you’re adding way too many sugar-filled calories to your body. All fast-food places with milkshakes on their menu count hundreds of calories per serving and instead of counting towards your hydration, they’re depleting your body of precious minerals and vitamins by causing inflammation and increasing your blood sugar levels. If you’re a big fan of milkshakes, simply blend your milk (or plant-based “mylk”) of choice with fruit, cacao powder, vanilla, or any other real ingredient, and sweeten it with a healthy alternative to cane sugar like yacon syrup, monk fruit sweetener, stevia, or coconut sugar. That way you can enjoy your hydrating beverage with all the health benefits of its powerful ingredients. Final Thoughts Staying adequately hydrated throughout the day is crucial for your overall health and well-being, and choosing which drinks to include in your daily routine and which to stay away from is even more important. Choose smarter and enhance your health instead of putting it at risk of dehydration and inflammation.
All About Hydration: The Importance of Staying Hydrated
All About Hydration: The Importance of Staying Hydrated
12.22.22 Proper hydration is one of the most essential health goals we should be achieving every single day of our lives. Our bodies are mostly made of water and it’s a crucial component in all of our bodily processes, from transporting important nutrients and oxygen to every organ, tissue, and cell, to flushing out all the toxins and harmful agents that are not supposed to be there. And with the variety of environmental toxins, viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens lurking in everything from our food and air to the plastic water bottles we find in the grocery store, staying hydrated at any given moment is only becoming more important. The Importance Of Hydration That drinking enough water is important for your overall health and well-being isn’t something new, but the overall emphasis and focus on really hitting your daily numbers have become stronger in recent years. The stress of today’s life combined with a variety of environmental toxins you’re exposed to wherever you go and the artificial ingredients in everything from the food you eat to the cleaning products you use in your home all contribute to the rising rates of inflammation and inflammatory diseases, infections, and overall health problems caused by the build-up. All toxins and other harmful substances in the human body get flushed out by sweating, urination, or through your stool and if there isn’t enough water to begin with and perform these important functions, everything slows down, and your immune system gets overwhelmed with the toxic buildup. This creates the perfect environment for bacteria and viruses to attack your body and make it harder, sometimes impossible, to protect yourself. The free radicals that cause inflammation only create additional damage to your cells and leave you at risk for even the most severe diseases like cancer and autoimmune conditions. And although drinking enough water during the day isn’t a magic pill that will cure diseases, it plays a huge role in preventing them and strengthening your immune system so it works better to fight off whatever is threatening your health. How Your Body Works The human body is 60-70% water, with your most important organs like the brain and heart almost three-quarters fluid. Even your bones are 31% water. So, you can only imagine what happens when that supply isn’t replenished on a daily basis as we cannot make water ourselves. Just like air, it’s something we need to obtain all the time to survive. It’s said that we can live without food for two to three months, but without water for barely a week. Water is absolutely crucial for the optimal function of all of the cells in your body and it’s for its unique properties such as its ability to transport nutrients, dissolve substances, enhance absorption, stimulate biological and chemical processes, and its stickiness, also known as the surface tension of water which helps with not only the transport of nutrients, but also waste disposal. Benefits Of Hydration Water plays a plethora of important roles in the human body: Helps transport oxygen and nutrient to every cell, tissue, and organ Regulates our body’s internal temperature through sweating and respiration Helps with waste disposal through sweat, urination, and bowel movements Stimulates digestion and optimizes your metabolism Allows your lymphatic system to function properly Forms saliva Helps keep your joints well-lubricated and mobile Acts as a shock absorber for your brain and spinal cord, as well as the fetus (the uterus is full of water) Helps improve your athletic performance Aids in mental focus and cognitive performance Improves the texture and tone of your skin Helps improve your mood and general energy levels Reading through all the important roles and benefits of drinking adequate amounts of water daily shows how much it impacts every single part of your body. This is why there’s nothing else that can replace this essential golden liquid. Still, there are other drinks that can count toward your total hydration for the day and even add other important vitamins and minerals to the table. Some of these drinks include teas and other herbal mixes, pure fruit juices, superfood smoothies, bone broths, and electrolyte drinks. How Much Water Should You Drink Everyday? The golden rule of “8 glasses of water per day” has been since debunked and experts now move closer to 11 or even more, depending on your individual needs. Every person is different, and just like no diet or even exercise regimen fits everyone, the need for replenishing your daily amount of water differs from one person to the next. Kids have different water needs than adults and even women differ from men. Additionally, your daily water needs change on a daily basis depending on the time of the year, the air temperature, your level of activity, as well as what your meals consisted of. The experts at the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine concluded that proper daily fluid intake is somewhere around 15.5 cups a day for men and 11.5 cups for women, turning that “8 cups a day” rule into a myth. Still, if you’re someone who’s really struggling with your daily water intake, even eight cups are a great start, as long as you can stay consistent. The goal is, of course, to prevent dehydration and all of its negative and damaging side effects. It’s said that when you’re thirsty, you’re already mildly dehydrated, but it’s a bit more complicated than that. How to Know if I’m Hydrated Enough? The signs of dehydration can often be overlooked as they’re similar to many other health conditions. Fatigue, headaches, constipation, and symptoms of anxiety can be tied to myriad root causes, without you knowing that you might alleviate them (or some of them) by simply drinking more water. Still, there are generally some easy ways to check if you’re hydrated enough, and these include: The urine check - the simplest and often the easiest way to check your hydration levels is by the color of your urine. It should be clear or pale yellow. The darker it is, the less hydrated you are. Of course, there are some exceptions such as intaking certain foods and medications that can cause your urine to be slightly darker or change in color. The thirst check - another quite obvious symptom of dehydration is feeling thirsty. When you’re feeling parched, that’s a definite sign to drink up. You might also be depleted of electrolytes and oftentimes drinking regular water might not do the trick, so if you’ve just come back from a sweaty workout or spent a day in hot weather conditions, add some electrolytes into your water to help replenish faster. The skin pinch test - since adequate water levels help keep your skin subtle and plump, it might give you a sign of whether you’re hydrated enough by pinching it and checking its elasticity levels, also known as skin turgor. The U.S. National Library of Medicine says to pinch the skin on your abdomen, forearm, or your hand, and if your skin snaps back right away, it means you’re properly hydrated. On the other hand, if it takes a while for it to return to its normal state, it might mean you’re dehydrated. The breath test - there are many different reasons for bad breath, but dehydration might be one of them. As one of the roles of water in your body is to make saliva, when there’s not enough, this might create a perfect environment for bacteria and cause them to build up, causing a pungent and unpleasant odor. The cravings test - you might get sugar or salty cravings for a variety of reasons, but sometimes it might be due to dehydration. The best way to test this is to drink a glass of water. If your cravings reduce, chances are you were just dehydrated. How To Stay Hydrated Staying properly hydrated should be one of the most important things on your daily to-do list and there are many different ways to go about it. Depending on your day and schedule, you might want to prepare yourself to stay on track by “planting” water bottles on your route. For example, place one in your car, one in your gym bag, one on your office table, and one near your sofa. That way, you’ll always have one handy to sip on at any given time of the day. Another thing you can do to ensure you’re not slacking on your water intake is to set a reminder (or a couple) on your phone and drink up every time it goes off. It’s easy to get engrossed in a task you’re working on or an activity that requires your utmost attention and forget about food or water, so by setting an alarm, you’re reminded to take a break and take a sip. Drinking water and other hydrating beverages is one thing, but you can also help reach your hydration goals by eating hydrating foods such as celery, cucumber, berries, and watermelon which in addition to being almost entirely made of water, also bring on a variety of vitamins, fiber, and other important minerals into your diet. i Another important factor that plays a role in your hydration levels is fitness and sports. If you’re someone who’s active and loves partaking in sports activities or going to the gym, always ensure you’re paying even more attention to your water intake by properly hydrating before, during, and after your workouts. Especially if you’re known to sweat a lot. And last, but not least, avoid or limit the consumption of dehydrating foods and drinks such as alcohol, sugar-filled beverages, and products, as well as foods that are high in sodium and vegetable oil. All of these things are known to contribute to dehydration, cause inflammation, and make your body work harder than it should to perform its most basic functions such as digestion and waste disposal. Additionally, stay clear of harmful lifestyle routines that can cause dehydration such as smoking, and be aware of medications or other health treatments that might be increasing your need for water. Final Thoughts Drinking water is essential to staying alive, but it’s often one of the most underrated and neglected daily routines. Since we do it as one of our biological human needs, we don’t spend much time thinking about the actual optimal intake our bodies function at the best. Increase your awareness around dehydration symptoms, pay a bit more attention to how you feel throughout the day, and keep a water bottle with you (or near you) at all times to remind yourself to sip on that precious liquid day in and day out.
A Guide To Drinking Water Before Bed
A Guide To Drinking Water Before Bed
12.22.22 Staying hydrated throughout the day is a must, but what about drinking water before bed? Are you one of those people who finds that they wake up super dehydrated and keeps a water bottle near their bedside table or are you better off with having your last sip for dinner? And is one better than the other? Let’s find out! Your Body During Sleep During sleep, your body performs all the most important repairing, recovering, and rebalancing processes that help you conserve and restore energy, improve muscle recovery, promote brain function and cognition, and even help strengthen your immune system. That’s why focusing on improving your sleeping quality is one of the most important aspects of a healthy lifestyle. Sleep deprivation can cause a plethora of negative effects in your body, from activating inflammation and making you more prone to infections and diseases, to causing anxiety, lack of energy, and inability to focus. What Drinking Water Before Bed Does to Your Body? While you sleep and your body undergoes all of these processes, it works in hibernation mode which still requires adequate hydration levels in your body in order to allow the optimal function of all organs and tissues. And during the night, you can’t replenish those lost fluids, which leads you to believe you need to hydrate right before bed. Research shows how your body seems to be a bit smarter than you think and actually kicks in your circadian rhythm for you to retain water if you’re actually so dehydrated that it struggles to perform all of its important tasks. This is why you sometimes might wake up puffier than you would want, especially after a late, sodium-rich dinner that absorbed all the water from your system. So, does that mean that you need to drink up before bed to ensure that doesn’t happen? And is dehydration during sleep that bad? Dehydration During Sleep Even though your body knows how to regulate its water levels during the night through water retention, going to sleep already dehydrated might cause a variety of sleep disruptions. You might wake up more often, experience muscle spasms and migraines, and overall be more restless, causing poor quality sleep and reduced REM phase. REM is an important sleep phase that helps with memory consolidation, emotional processing, and brain development. It also causes dreaming and the less time you spend in it per night, the lower the chances of quality recovery. And studies show how inadequate sleep might have a direct correlation to dehydration as your body might work harder during the day as it functions in overdrive. Over-Hydration During Sleep On the other hand, drinking too much water before bed might cause a more frequent need to urinate which again makes you wake up more often during the night. This biological need might sometimes be ignored if your body is extremely tired, but most of the time it will wake you up and cause you to get out of bed and take a trip to your bathroom. And while some people have no trouble falling back asleep, others struggle with nocturia, sometimes staying up for hours before finally dozing off. This contributes to sleep deprivation and overall poor sleep quality which has a detrimental effect on your overall health over time. Late Night Meals and Drinking Water So, if drinking too much before bed causes you to wake up more often and potentially disrupts your sleep, what happens if you’re used to late-night meals? Should you be drinking water after your dinner? Late-night meals are generally not recommended as they’re known to cause digestive discomfort that can further affect your sleep quality, and adding fluids to the table only makes your body work harder to digest your food before you’re off to dreamland. On the other hand, going hungry to bed might also cause sleep disruptions and negatively affect your sleep. So, what are you to do? How to Prevent Dehydration Before Bed Without Disrupting Your Sleep? The goal is to find that sweet spot of staying hydrated before you go to sleep, but avoiding drinking a whole bottle of water right before you get under the covers. How this looks for you and your daily schedule will depend on a variety of factors, from how you deal with hydration throughout the day to what type of foods you’ve included in your meal plan. Some of the best tips to prevent sleep disruptions either by muscle cramps caused by dehydration or frequent urination caused by drinking too much include: Stay hydrated throughout the day - probably the best tip you can follow to avoid going to sleep dehydrated is to drink plenty of water during the day. If you’re tracking your water intake, don’t leave the majority of your daily goal for after dinner. Rather space it out throughout the day so you’re always working with adequate water levels. Avoid late meals - if possible, try to schedule an earlier dinner and avoid late meals that will make you feel thirsty. Avoid late workouts - again, if possible, try to avoid working out before bed as it will undoubtedly make you intake more fluids than you normally would, causing you to wake up during the night. Improve your sleep quality - and not just for the sake of avoiding dehydration. Implementing good sleeping habits will help improve your overall health and longevity, help strengthen your immune system, and lower your risk of infections. Keep your bedroom temperature moderate - a hot sleeping environment may cause you to sweat and lose precious fluid and electrolytes. Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed - since both are known to have a diuretic effect, they might cause you to wake up and run to the bathroom. Additionally, caffeine is a stimulant and might make it harder for you to fall asleep. Avoid sugar-filled drinks and food in the late part of your day - sugar is known to cause dehydration so it’s best if you stay away from it in the evening and especially right before bedtime. Hydrate in the morning - no matter how well-hydrated you were yesterday, start your day with a glass of water. Not only will it help mitigate any potential dehydration stages during the night, but it will also stimulate your digestive system, jumpstart your metabolism, and help you start your day on the right note. So, When To Drink Water Before Bed? Experts recommend reducing your water intake in the hour or two before you go to bed and slowly weaning out during the day. So, say you’re going to sleep at 10 pm. The ideal time to have your last meal would be around 7 pm, with the latest glass of water shortly after that. If you feel thirsty during the time between your dinner and sleep, it’s absolutely fine to sip some water and prevent dehydration. Just don’t chug a whole water bottle at once. So, When To Drink Water Before Bed? Experts recommend reducing your water intake in the hour or two before you go to bed and slowly weaning out during the day. So, say you’re going to sleep at 10 pm. The ideal time to have your last meal would be around 7 pm, with the latest glass of water shortly after that. If you feel thirsty during the time between your dinner and sleep, it’s absolutely fine to sip some water and prevent dehydration. Just don’t chug a whole water bottle at once. Final Thoughts Dehydration is a serious condition that shouldn’t be taken lightly, so whenever you experience even one of the above mentioned symptoms, take it as a sign to drink up!