The importance of hydration: water works wonders!

Every one of us is a miniature estuary, a place where salts meet water to create and sustain life.

Next to breathing, water is the #1 most important thing! Think about it: water makes up about 60% of men’s bodies and 55% of women’s bodies (we have more fat tissue, which has slightly less water than lean tissue.) We need to keep REPLENISHING that water for our organs and systems to work properly. In short: you really need to stay hydrated! 

I don’t know about you, but every time I hear someone preaching about hydration, I imagine some poor soul getting up in the morning and trying to down a half gallon of water to meet the “quota” for the day. Actually, I know a few people who do this. Personally, I think that’s nuts—and potentially dangerous too. We need water, but getting a lot of it in one big shot, and with nothing to slow the absorption of that water into the system, puts tremendous strain on the kidneys! 

There’s a better way.

The truth is, most of us stay a bit dehydrated. As we age this often shows up as muscle aches and pains that never quite go away. Other signs include dry skin and constipation. In more severe chronic cases, people become fatigued and foggy, especially if they live in a warm climate and age has impacted their body’s ability to adjust its internal thermostat. Fluids can address many of these issues, especially when they’re infused with nutrients and minerals.

As I wrote in The Healthy Mind Cookbook, a little fluid can go a long way in keeping the brain happy. Consider that even a 1 to 2 percent loss of fluid levels in the brain has been linked to a host of mental impairments, including attention deficit, slower processing, and poorer short-term memory retention. It’s readily apparent that hydration is the key to neuronal nirvana — neurons actually shrink when they don’t get enough fluid. 

How much water should we drink daily?

We used to be told we should drink eight, 8-ounce glasses of water per day. But does one size really fit all? Actually, the appropriate amount depends on your size and weight, your activity level and your climate. A good daily baseline is between half an ounce and an ounce of water for each pound you weigh. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, that would be 75 to 150 ounces of water a day. If you’re training for a triathlon and living in a hot climate, you’d be on the higher end of that range; if you’re in a cooler climate and less physically active, you’d need less.

What if I don’t like the taste of plain old water?

Some people LOVE to drink water. Me? I can’t think of anything more boring. I like to doll it up with lemons, mint, citrus slices — something that’s going to infuse my water with some FLAVOR!

That’s how I came up with Spa in a Pitcher. Hydration is so vital to maintaining the body’s equilibrium, especially in hot weather. This tonic is like art floating in a chilled pitcher, with thin rounds of orange, lemon, and cucumber interspersed with sprigs of thyme and mint.

The fruits and herbs release their flavor and antioxidants into the water, and YOU gain all the the benefits. 


How to hydrate: more options

Water, when it’s infused with something healthy, is your #1 choice. For variety, try herbal teas; broths; foods that have lots of water in them, such as cucumbers, lettuce, celery, zucchini, and watermelon; and homemade ginger ale if you’re a sparkling water person.  

 

Ginger is one of your best friends, both for its flavor, which can spark even the most jaded taste buds, and for its tummy-soothing properties. A lot of people think store-bought ginger ale will do the trick, but the actual ginger content in most commercial varieties is minimal. Plus, you often get a whole host of other garbage (can you say high fructose corn syrup?) that you’d be better off without. Enter this recipe, which uses straight-up ginger syrup so you can control the amount of zing in your tonic. The frozen grapes serve the same purpose as your basic ice cubes, but also sneak a bunch of healthy minerals and phytochemicals into the brew. 

Hydration should be like an intravenous drip throughout the day. Keep a pitcher or a thermos on your desk or carry it with you so you’re constantly taking sips. A pinch of celtic sea salt or Himalayan salt is really good for the adrenals. Add a squeeze of lemon! Your body will thank you for the many minerals. 

HYDRATION IS IMPORTANT YEAR ROUND, BUT ESPECIALLY IN SUMMER! KEEP COOL AND REPLENISH WITH FRESHLY INFUSED FLAVOR- AND MINERAL-RICH PITCHERS OR THERMOSES OF STILL OR SPARKLING WATER. AND DID I MENTION HOW GOOD HYDRATION IS FOR YOUR SKIN, TOO? WIN/WIN :)