We all know the stat. Your body is 60% water. Clearly, water is essential for life on earth to continue. From plant life and wildlife, all the way up to us humans, we need water! Every living creature needs water to survive, and just because people are made up of mostly water doesn’t mean we get a free pass. Staying hydrated is key to staying healthy, which is why every June 23rd, we celebrate National Hydration Day.
We’re told to drink more water all the time but rarely do we discuss ALL benefits of staying hydrated. Today, we’ll discuss all the ways staying hydrated is beneficial to your health, as well as some creative ways to keep those hydration levels up!
Benefits to staying Hydrated
It’s Good For the Brain
Many studies have told us that hydration plays a vital role in brain function. Even mild dehydration, ranging from 1%-3% water loss, can cause problems. Symptoms like mood changes, headaches, concentration, memory, fatigue, anxiety, and general brain performance for people across all age ranges arise faster than you might think.
Simple activities that we do every day can cause mild dehydration, so doctors recommend always carrying a water bottle with you. It’s also highly recommended to start your day with eight to 12 ounces of water. Want more information on dehydration? See our blog from last year and learn what symptoms to be on the lookout for.
It Keeps The Heart Healthy
The heart muscle never takes a break. It continually pumps blood through your body and keeps you moving. In addition to eating healthy and getting plenty of exercise, staying hydrated is a big part of keeping the heart working. When we allow our bodies to become dehydrated – the act of your body not retaining enough water to function correctly – it causes the heart to work even harder than it already does.
Dehydration lowers your blood volume. When this happens, the heart goes into overdrive, trying to pump less blood to make sure your body has oxygen. An overworked heart muscle can be prone to heart attacks, cause a stroke, or create other heart conditions. Chances of heart issues decrease dramatically when we drink ample amounts of water every day.
Helps Keep You Moving
Ever experienced a muscle cramp? Has the pain of a Charley horse ever caught you by surprise? If you have (and let’s face it, most people have), you can blame that pain on dehydration. Without the right amount of fluid, our joints and muscles tense up, causing intense pain that can radiate throughout the body. This is why orthopedic doctors recommend that all patients, particularly patients who are active in sports or intense physical activity, drink water throughout the day.
Staying hydrated is a fundamental part of an active lifestyle. The more water in your body, the better your muscles and joints respond to physical exercise.
Helps to optimize overall physical performance
Be it sports, the gym, or regular everyday activities; our bodies work best when we have enough fluids. Hydration maximizes your overall physical performance. Our bodies lose energy the moment we decrease our water intake. Remember to keep yourself hydrated before, during, and after any sort of physical activity.
A natural cleanse
Toxins are all around us. From the food we eat, the air we breathe, the beverages we drink, and hundreds of other contaminants in the environment, we can’t escape them. Toxins can create physical imbalances. These imbalances can make you feel fatigued, irritable, and overall strange.
Everywhere we look, companies are advertising the latest “cleanse” to rid these toxins from our bodies, but the truth is water is the best cleanse out there. Water helps your organs, like the kidneys, flush out waste and dispose of it. The more water you drink, the more toxins you release, resulting in more energy for everyday life!
Hydration cures the body
Staying hydrated can also help treat a variety of ailments and illnesses. There’s a reason doctors tell us to “drink lots of fluids” when we’re sick. It’s because our bodies are working overtime to fight off the infection, so drinking enough liquids can help you recover faster. Hydration has been known to help combat colds, kidney stones, flu, headaches, and seizures.
Tips on staying hydrated
So now that we know the importance of staying hydrated, the question becomes, how do we do it? Of course, drinking water daily is one of the best ways to achieve this, but not the only way. Here are some alternative ways to stay hydrated should you ever get tired of drinking water.
Start with a classic. Begin your day with a bowl of oatmeal. Oatmeal is filling, hearty, and an excellent source of protein, but did you also know it’s a great way to stay hydrated? Oats absorb the water or milk they’re prepared with. Those fluids are then passed on to you. If you’re not a “warm” breakfast person, try soaking the oats overnight and eating them cold. You still get all the benefits without any of the heat. If you want an extra shot of hydration, consider sprinkling chia seeds in your overnight oats when you prepare them. Chia seeds soak up ten times their weight in water.
According to a McMaster University study from 2018, milk is actually even more hydrating than sports drinks and water! This is because it’s a great source of protein, carbohydrates, calcium, and electrolytes. So go ahead, sport that milk mustache.
Ditch the hardy carbs
Instead of loading up your plate with starchy pasta, try zucchini noodles instead. These “zoodles” are around 95% water. When you pair that with tomato sauce, which usually has about 90 percent water, your meal turns into a hydration station.
Play it smooth(ies)
Not only are smoothies delicious, but between the fruit and yogurt, they are packed with hydration. If you’ve never made your own smoothies, we recommend you give it a go. Peaches, cucumbers, blueberries, spinach, and strawberries are all great places to start. Just make sure to include some veggies and a source of protein so your smoothie isn’t all sugar!
Most lettuce contains around 94% water, and that’s before you add any other vegetables. Consider adding a salad to your weekly dinner rotation. Tomatoes, celery, bell peppers, and carrots are tasty toppers to any green meal.
Put it on ice
Freeze your fruit. We all remember the days of snacking on a popsicle during summer break. Get that feeling back with homemade popsicles that the whole family can enjoy. Blended watermelon makes for a yummy icy treat. Just pour it in a mold (or ice tray) and put it in the freezer for around an hour.
You can do it!
Work on incorporating drinking water and these other creative hydration solutions into your everyday routine by doing things like setting reminders on your phone. Soon taking hydration breaks will be second nature! Staying hydrated might feel like a chore at first, but the more you do it, the easier it will be!