Keeping your body hydrated means your organs perform optimally, your joints stay loose and well-lubricated, and your skin stays firm and supple. While plain water is excellent for hydration, there are a variety of foods and beverages that can supply your body with the hydration it needs. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that scientists have determined there is a beverage that keeps your body hydrated longer and more completely than water. Meanwhile, not just any liquid will do when it comes to replenishing your body’s fluid stores.
8. Plain Water
Plain water is the gold standard when it comes to providing your body with an inexpensive, easily accessible, calorie-free form of hydration. Under normal circumstances, water is the ideal beverage for keeping your body systems humming. Generally speaking, it is not necessary to consume a certain number of ounces of liquid refreshment each day. Listening to your body’s cues and drinking when you are thirsty should provide you with just the right amount of fluids each day.
7. Sports Drinks
Sports drinks and rehydrating fluids contain electrolytes such as potassium and sodium in addition to water. Drinking these beverages can restore your body’s balance of these electrolytes if they have been lost due to excessive exertion, sweating, or illness. These beverages have a role in fluid replacement. However, the sugars they contain mean they may not be the ideal hydration solution in all circumstances. For maintaining adequate hydration when performing mild exercise or carrying out daily activities, the excess sugar in these preparations delivers unnecessary calories.
Coffee is often thought of as a dehydrating beverage due to its caffeine content. Caffeine is a mild diuretic. However, studies indicate that moderate coffee intake can contribute to hydration, rather than depleting it. Therefore, there is no need to cut back on your morning cup of joe out of fear it will cause dehydration. Do take care to avoid doctoring your coffee with excess sugar, as sugar can have a dehydrating effect in your gut. Sorry, but that sugary frozen coffee drink won’t greatly contribute to your daily hydration intake.
Herbal tea, whether enjoyed hot or cold, is an excellent source of water. Add a squeeze of lemon for a little burst of vitamin C as well. As with coffee, it is critical not to negate the hydrating benefits of tea with added sugar. For a special treat, try this recipe for the Ultimate Hydrating Iced Tea from Epicurious. This recipe combines green tea with grapes, lime, coconut water, chia seeds, and cucumber to make a refreshing beverage. A soothing cup of chamomile tea in the evening can both relax you and provide hydration for your evening slumber.
4. Fruits and Vegetables
Some individuals dislike the taste of water. Fortunately, fruits and vegetables can add to the body’s stores of waters. Fruits like watermelon, cantaloupe, and strawberries are 90% or higher in water content. This means you can enjoy their hydrating effects along with their sweet taste. Vegetables such as celery, romaine lettuce, and cucumber have around 95% water content. If choking down a glass of water is unappealing, take heart in the fact that a leafy salad can help replenish your water stores as well.
3. Fruit Juices
If fruits are high in water content, you may assume fruit juices to be even more hydrating. However, the high sugar content of fruit juices, without the added benefit of fiber, means these beverages can actually deplete your body’s fluids. When sugars enter the digestive tract, they can have an osmotic effect. This means that the sugars can pull more fluids into your digestive tract where they are expelled in the urine or as diarrhea rather than being utilized by your body. Furthermore, these beverages introduce extra calories that you wouldn’t obtain from water or tea.
2. Skim Milk
When it comes to hydration, it may surprise you to learn that skim milk beats out water as the ultimate hydrating beverage. High in water content, milk also contains lactose, protein, and fat. The protein and fat content of this beverage mean milk is absorbed more slowly from your stomach, allowing a more prolonged release of fluid into your body. Furthermore, milk may be the ideal recovery beverage after a strenuous workout, as it supplies needed protein to flagging muscles. It appears the slogan is true: milk does a body good!
1. Poor Choices: Sugary or Diet Sodas
You have a variety of choices when keeping your body hydrated. However, if you have other options available, don’t be tempted to reach for sodas when you are looking to quench your thirst. It doesn’t matter whether you choose regular sodas that are high in sugar or diet options loaded with artificial sweeteners. In either case, these beverages provide empty calories or chemicals that don’t match up to the hydrating benefits of water or milk.