As many of us head into warmer summer months, hopefully full of outdoor activities such as hiking and biking, let’s review all things related to staying well hydrated. And fear not for those of you who prefer to chew rather than to drink for hydration. I’ll have some tips to share about hydrating foods at the end, too!
You probably learned at a very young age that drinking enough water throughout the day is critical to your health. It is important to understand that proper hydration is important for many reasons. For example, on days when you’ve eaten well and had a great night of sleep, but your energy is suffering, consider how much water you have had to drink. Fatigue and lethargy can be a sign of dehydration. Do you feel like you are hungry within an hour or two after having a fairly high protein meal? You could easily be mistaking hunger for thirst.
Even when working with clients who have “SHMEC out of check”, we often set goals around increasing water intake since water helps to keep “SHMEC in check”. For those of you who have never heard of SHMEC before, it stands for sleep, hunger, mood, energy, and cravings. SHMEC is one way that we can follow your body’s biofeedback to better understand how your wellness goals are working for you. You can read more about methods to support your SHMEC from Dr. Jade by clicking on this link.
You might be wondering how much water you should be drinking daily. There is quite a bit of conflicting information when it comes to recommendations for proper hydration, but if you are thirsty, you are probably dehydrated. If you eat a lot of processed foods, have a high sodium intake, or drink a fair amount of caffeinated beverages, you should make a conscious effort to drink more water. Coach Barrie does a great job of explaining how much water you should aim for daily in this blog post.
If you have trouble remembering to drink water throughout the day, or you don’t enjoy drinking water, consider the following suggestions:
- Plan ahead! A few containers of drinking water, preferably in your own glass bottle rather than a plastic bottle, should be with you at all times, particularly during the summer months when the risk for dehydration increases. Keep an empty glass bottle in your purse or car at all times and use public drinking fountains to refill as necessary.
- Remind yourself to drink water using technology! Set a reminder or alarm on your phone, electronic organizer, e-mail program, or computer every hour to remind you to stop and have a glass of water.
- Experiment with fruit and vegetables as a delicious addition to your daily water intake. Experiment with adding cucumbers, berries, melons, oranges, limes, lemons to a pitcher of water. Or try a delicious new slushy or smoothie recipe as found here on our YouTube channel.
- Eat your fruits and vegetables. If you love to eat, but you aren’t a big fan of water, you may be able to consume as much as 20 percent of your fluids from food. Plus, fruits and vegetables can help keep you feeling fuller longer if your goal is to lose weight. Check out the top 10 hydrating fruits and veggies from this list:
- Cucumbers: 97%
- Raw Radishes: 95%
- Celery: 91%
- Watermelon: 91%
- Raw Jicama: 90%
- Raw Broccoli: 89%
- Peaches: 89%
- Raw Carrots: 88%
- Plums: 87%
- Apples: 86%
If you already know that you need to work on staying properly hydrated, hopefully you can use some of these tips and apply them to your daily routine. I personally have at least 5 different reusable water bottles floating around my kitchen and desk at all times, making it really easy to drink enough water throughout the day.
Drop us a comment and let us know if you have any additional questions around SHMEC or staying well hydrated, or let us know what tip you’ll be testing out this summer!