Water is one of the key ingredients to a healthy diet. It's important to keep your body hydrated for a number of reasons. Did you know that our body uses 2 to 3 quarts of water per day to keep up basic functions such as body temperature regulation and metabolic processes? As a point of reference, that's anywhere from 64 to 96 fluid ounces of liquid! Not only is water needed for homeostasis, but it is essential for joints and muscle mass. Think of it as the fluffy pillow of fluid between your bone and cartilage. Don't be discouraged, though; there are plenty of ways to incorporate water into your diet. It doesn't have to be all about plain old H2O! Keep these tips in mind as you "wet" your appetite.
1. Skip the Cubism: It's easy to get your chill on while keeping hydrated. Toss some fresh berries, sliced peaches and pineapple wedges into the freezer. The next time you're craving a chilly refresher, use the frozen fruit instead of regular ice cubes. Not only will the fruit cool down your glass of water, but it also adds taste without tons of calories! Once you've slurped down your beverage, enjoy the fruit for a boost of filling fiber.
2. Find Some Flavor: I often hear complaints from clients about the lack of flavor in water. No argument here -- water definitely isn't the most daring of beverage choices. Keep it interesting by adding natural flavor such as lemon and lime slices, cucumber and/or mint. I love lemons and limes for the immune system (very high vitamin C content), cucumber is an anti-inflammatory and mint can help aid in digestion.
3. It Doesn't Have to Come from the Tap: There are some alternatives to plain H20 that you can incorporate into your diet to keep even water from getting boring. Seltzer is a good alternative if you crave the pop and fizz of soda. Coconut water is also a great option, since it has all the benefits of regular water plus a ton of electrolytes and potassium, while still being low in calorie. Make sure you find one with no added sugar.
4. Get It in Early: This is one of my favorite tips to give to clients. Aim to reach at least half of your hydration goal by noon. This way, you'll feel less pressured as the day wears on. I call it the Liter by Lunch. It's not uncommon for one to let a whole morning pass by and consume only a single cup of coffee. Instead, commit to a full glass before your AM java jolt. Keep a water bottle in front of your computer screen or by your phone at all times. We use these items so frequently, and the visual reminder of water next to them can result in increased sippage!
5. Consider Double-Fisting: Just kidding, well, sort of. Before heading out for a long night, you'll want to start off with one large bottle of water. This sets the hydration precedence for the entire night. Follow up by alternating between one alcoholic drink and one non-alcoholic drink. This doesn't mean you can imbibe soda, juice or tea instead. Keep your non-alcoholic choice to either water or seltzer. Be sure to steer clear of tonic. People tend to think it's similar to seltzer or club soda, but it actually contains just as many calories as soda and juice.
6. Eat to Hydrate: Don't get caught up in thinking that all your liquid requirements have to come from a glass. There are plenty of foods that have high water content to quench your thirst. Celery takes the prize by having 95% water content, in addition to essential electrolytes such as sodium, magnesium and potassium. Veggies like cucumbers and bell peppers pack a satisfying crunch AND tons of H2O! Or choose fruits such as watermelon, strawberries, and cantaloupe for seasonal satisfaction. Not only do these foods up your hydration ante, but they also have a significant filling effect on the stomach. This means you'll consume less but feel fuller. Perfect for weight loss!
Water plays a significant role in weight loss, athletic performance and day-to-day functioning. So the next time you want to reach for that iced tea or soda, consider the above-mentioned tips. Keeping hydrated has never been so easy!