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Refreshing Hydration Options

posted Jul 22, 2016, 10:45 AM by   [ updated Jul 22, 2016, 10:49 AM ]
Welcome to the third installment of our Cool Foods for Hot Days blog series! We’ve already given your favorite cold treats a makeover and discussed foods that can contribute to your daily fluid intake goal, so this week; we are going to cover options other than plain water for hydration.

The Adequate Intake for water is 3.7 liters (15 cups) per day for men over the age of 18 and 2.7 (11 cups) for women of the same age group, however, times of pregnancy increase that to 3 liters and lactation increases a woman’s fluid needs to a whopping 3.8 liters (16 cups) per day. This is way more than the old 8, 8 ounce glasses of water goal that most of us strive for. While this is still a good goal for those not even consuming that much fluid, we’d like to explore some ways to get these fluids while still enjoying what you’re drinking…because let’s face it, water can get boring!

Technically, all liquids contribute to your daily fluid intake. This includes soups, sodas, coffee, tea, juice, etc. However, many of these contain other ingredients that may actually cause some dehydration or other negative health outcome. For example, soups tend to be high in sodium, so while the fluid will initially contribute to your hydration, it could end up dehydrating your or cause you to exceed your recommended daily sodium intake, which could lead to high blood pressure and other complications. Alternately, many are under the impression that caffeine’s diuretic effect may cause dehydration. In regular coffee and tea drinkers, who drink 1-2 cups each day, this is not the case. When your body is accustomed to processing the caffeine, these beverages are actually contributing to your overall hydration. It’s when you have that extra cup or 2 (beyond your regular daily intake) that you may begin to feel the dehydrating effects of caffeinated beverages. Similar discussions regarding sugar in juice and sodas can you leave feeling like there are very few options for hydration other than water. Listed below are a beverages you may not have thought of as well as ways to liven up your water: 
  • Decaffeinated, herbal teas are great hot in the winter or iced in the summer. One of our favorites is Starbucks Passion Tea. Try it plain, without sweetener or being shaken with lemonade. It is full of flavor and hydration, without calories or sugar. You know it feels good to order a guilt-free venti. 
  • Infused water is a beautiful way to add flavor to your water and make you feel like you’re at a spa any day of the week. Simply clean and slice fruit, vegetables, and/or herbs and float in a pitcher of water. After a few hours, you will have deliciously flavored water with negligible added calories and sugar. Another great tip is to float frozen fruits (such as berries) in your water to keep it cool and flavor it up. There are even special infusion water bottles available so that you can take your infused water with you everywhere. 
  • Sparkling water comes in many flavors, so explore them all and choose your favorites! Just watch out for artificial sweeteners and added colors and focus on sparkling waters that contain carbonated water and natural flavors only. We love La Croix, Wegman’s, and Giant brand sparkling water. You can also purchase a Soda Stream for the sole purpose of making your own carbonated water. No matter how you get it, you can flavor plain carbonated water yourself with the infusion method described above or by adding your favorite 100% juice for a healthy, homemade “soda”. 
  • Sports drinks are useful during long bouts of high intensity exercise and/or in times of extreme heat or humidity. In addition to providing essential electrolytes, sports drinks can also contain a lot of added sugar, so try diluting your sports drink with water to reap the hydrating benefits without taking in too much added sugar. The same goes for all other sugar-sweetened drinks such as lemonade and juice blends.