No Binge Drinking Required
2.2 liters. While the amount of water required daily is relevant to the size, weight and activity level of the individual, this number, this daunting 2.2 liters is the recommended daily intake of water for the average human. It’s safe to say that with a number as high as this, many of us find ourselves falling more than a little short of our hydration goals.
So, what’s the problem with drinking “a little” less water? The dangers of skipping that refreshing glass of H2O may have you heading for the Zephyr Hills and not the Coors Mountains as previously planned. The amount of water you drink directly correlates with susceptibility to health problems. Without the proper water intake, studies show that you’re more prone to kidney stones, colon and urinary cancer and heart attacks. In his book The Water Secret, Dr. Howard Murad discusses studies he conducted wherein he found that the amount of calories your body burns while at rest is dependent on how hydrated your metabolic system is. The more hydrated your body, the more efficient and quickly your metabolism works. Dr. Murad also found that with the proper amount of water, your body will slow down the aging process while revitalizing the body, brightening the skin and filling in lines and wrinkles.
Studies also found that you eat more and are more prone to irritability, confusion, fits of anger and depression when even mildly dehydrated! A 2011 study conducted by the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London found that without enough water, the human brain actually shrinks away from the skull, forcing you to work and think harder to complete routine tasks. The study found that while dehydrated participants were able to complete the same tasks as their well-hydrated counterparts, the rate at which they were able to problem solve slowed significantly. Drinking water rehydrates the brain and restores it to its natural size.
Even after discussing the dangers of not drinking that 2.2 liters a day, the question still remains: when in the world will I have enough time to drink all that liquid in one day? The answer is simple. Fear not, we have put our well-hydrated brains to use to find alternative ways to make the H2O cut.
- Chia Seeds: These powerful little omega-3 rich seeds not only reduce cravings and lower blood pressure, but are known for their ability to soak up and retain liquid. Soak your Chia in water before utilizing them in oatmeal, smoothies or baked goods for a powerful punch to start the day.
- Coconut water: This refreshing liquid is a cool alternative to plain ol’ H20. It naturally contains fluid-balancing minerals, potassium and sodium, making it an isotonic liquid. That’s right, you heard us. Full of electrolytes, coconut water contains the same salt concentration as your blood and cells, making it the perfect post-workout treat. As an added bonus, the potassium in coconut water additionally helps to naturally regulate blood pressure.
- Fruits and vegetables: Your parents were definitely right about one thing – It’s important to not neglect your fruit and veggie intake. While most of these healthy foods have a relatively high water content, when substituting for a glass of water, be sure to reach for those with a water-weight content of 90% or higher. Cucumbers, grapefruit, tomatoes, blueberries, watermelon, lettuce, spinach, strawberry and zucchini are a few fruits and veggies that can help to keep you hydrated throughout the day.
- Meat: Carnivores rejoice! Much to our surprise, meat is made up of almost 60% water. Lean-ground hamburger, chicken and other tasty meats can aid in your hydration quest. BurgerFi for lunch? Yes please!
- Coffee and Tea: Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, LD of the WebMD Weight Loss Clinic says that coffee and tea “act as diuretics, so even if you’re getting water, you’re also pulling a little extra fluid from your body because of the caffeine.” Not only do our caffeinated friends aid in digestion, but they’re a comparable alternative when a glass of water just won’t do at eight A.M. Don’t believe us? We’ll be discussing the benefits of coffee in a later issue.
If you’re not a fan of bland but these five water-alternatives aren’t your “cup of tea” try adding a hint of mint or a little lemon zest to your H2O. And remember, nothing can fully replace a tall glass of water, however, a strawberry, spinach salad paired with a coconut, watermelon (see what we did there?) spritzer is a great way to hydrate.
Still having trouble hydrating? Talk to your doctor about the dangers of dehydration and more ways to hydrate safely. And remember to discuss with him or her before making any extreme dietary change.