Summer’s here. And if you spend any time outside (you do, don’t you?) you’ll need to make sure you are getting hydrated. Not that it isn’t important the rest of the year. Water, in fact, is essential for life – the human body simply won’t operate without it. But you already knew that.
I get all these questions. So today, here are my A’s to your Q’s.
How much do I have to drink? Here’s the formula to make sure you are well hydrated: Take your body weight and divide it by two. That is the number of ounces your body needs a day to stay hydrated. There are some caveats. If you are active, you’ll need more. If you take prescription medications, you’ll need more. If you drink tea or coffee, you’ll need more. Wait . . . What?!?
Does tea (coke, decaf tea, lemonade, coffee) count? In short, no. Water counts. Unsweetened herbal teas count, and you can infuse your water with flavor from fruits and vegetables. Tea and coffee won’t help you with your hydration because the caffeine turns them into diuretics. In other words, you lose water when you drink coffee or tea, and you’ll need to replenish it. Decaffeinated doesn’t necessarily mean caffeine-free. So even when you are drinking decaf coffee or tea, you’ll experience low-level effects from the caffeine that remains.
Aside from all the other problems with drinking sugary drinks, they also are dehydrating. So, you’ll need to add additional water to offset the dehydrating effects of sodas, wine, lemonade, and other sugar-containing drinks. And what about artificial sweeteners? They come with their own host of issues, mainly because you are imbibing chemicals that your body isn’t equipped to handle well. You’ll need additional water to flush these substances out of your system.
Does the water need to be filtered? What about tap water? Bottled water? In short, water does need to be filtered. The stuff that comes out of your tap contains chemicals such as chlorine and fluoride. Filtration will get rid of some to all of the chemicals, depending on how well the filter performs (which is another post for another day.) And, filtering water makes it taste better. Bottled water is unregulated, so you don’t really know what you are getting. And there are issues with the plastic leaching into the water, even those bottles labeled “BPA-free.” So, drink bottled water only when well-filtered water is not available.
Is there anything I can do to make it taste better? Yes! I love fruit-infused water and herbal teas.
Infused waters are delicious. While the internet is full of websites like this one with delicious recipes I sometimes just like to keep it simple. There doesn’t have to be a recipe, just add fruit and ice to filtered water. Try a single fruit, or a combination. When the water is flavored to your liking, remove the fruit. Citrus fruits flavor the water quickly and can become too strong. Other fruit flavors take awhile to develop, maybe overnight. Keep a pitcher of iced fruit-infused water in your fridge and you’ll always have delicious, hydrating water available.
One of my favorites is Lemon Balm Tea. Lemon balm is a mild-flavored herb. The tea is thirst quenching and delicious – without adding sweeteners. I tasted it first at the Well Being Retreat Center, and Patty shared her recipe. You can get dried lemon balm on line here and here. I found large tea bags locally at The Tree and Vine. You can also get them here. The recipe is simple:
Lemon Balm Tea
2 quarts filtered water
2 tablespoons dried lemon balm
1 large tea bag
2-quart pitcher or canning jar with lid
Fill the pitcher with filtered water. Place the dried lemon balm in the tea bag. Fold the tea bag opening well, and place in the top of the jar in the filtered water. Place the jar in your fridge overnight. Remove the tea bag. Enjoy.
Camille Watson is a health educator, speaker and published author of the book Eight Steps to a Real-Foods Kitchen. Her passion is to give individuals and groups the knowledge and tools they need to take back their health. If you are interested in learning more about achieving health through delicious, whole foods and lifestyle transformations, email firstname.lastname@example.org to attend one of her cooking classes or to schedule your free Health Strategy session.