Last updated on August 26, 2021.
Keeping yourself hydrated is essential for your body. Especially in Hong Kong where temperatures can be very high and stay that way for many months. Our body is 60 – 70% water on average. If we don’t drink enough water every day, it can lead to dehydration, which carries unpleasant effects.
Water circulates in our body every second. It keeps the temperature in our body normal, helps to control our heart rate and blood pressure, and gets rid of wastes in our body. Why do we sweat? It is the way water in our body discards the heat from muscles, to cool itself and not overheat. Besides drinking water, there are other ways for you to be hydrated at all times, including eating the right foods.
Our Healthy Matters team has compiled 6 easy ways for you to stay hydrated this summer!
1. Carry a water bottle every day
Not surprised? It is recommended by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to drink at least 3 liters of water for men and a little over 2 liters for women per day. Pregnant women should drink about 10 cups of water per day, and 12 cups of water for those who are breastfeeding. However, the amount of water each person needs depends highly on their daily activities and the type of weather they are living in. If your daily activities require you to be outdoors and make you sweat a lot, you need to drink more water to remain hydrated. Even if you’re not very active or live in a humid climate, you lose water every day through your breath, sweat, urine, and bowel movements.
Quick tip: An easy way to know if you are well hydrated is to check your urine colour. If it’s darker than usual – orange or amber, you’re lacking water, so drink more! If it’s clear, pale or transparent yellow, you’re doing fine!
2. Choose water or milk – not sugar-sweetened beverages
Water consumption promotes a decrease in total diet energy intake, and one explanation for this fact is the replacement of sugar-sweetened beverages by plain water. According to a study by McMaster University, milk is more hydrating than sports drinks or water itself, due to its source of protein, carbohydrates, calcium, and electrolytes. Milk also replaces the sodium you lose when you sweat, helping the human body retain fluids better. For a healthy dairy-free option, have you tried oat milk? It’s becoming very popular lately, not just in coffee shops.
3. Add lime or lemon to your water
Ever heard of infused water? It’s basically water, with a bit of something else to make it more attractive to drink water! The idea here is to encourage you to drink more. You can add almost anything you like – fresh fruit, herbs and/or certain vegetables to make great flavors and add nutrients for the water. Infused water is best 2 to 4 hours after you’ve made it. Alternatively, you can let it infuse overnight in your refrigerator. The longer it infuses, the stronger the flavor will get. Remember that some ingredients last longer than others. You can also reuse the fruit or herbs for a couple of refills before the flavors are gone.
Some common options are to add lemon or lime, basil, mint, lavender, citrus, strawberries, or cucumber. Infusing water with fruit might add a minimum amount of nutrients from the fruit, but the real health benefit is it’ll make you want to drink more water!
4. Drink mineral water instead of distilled water
Distilled water is water that has been boiled into vapor and condensed back into liquid. Impurities that do not boil below or near the boiling point of water remain in the original container. It is a relatively simple process but not the best way to get rid of impurities.
Distilled water also carries the risk of removing healthy minerals, such as sodium, chloride and potassium. Your body needs these to process the water and make good use of it. You’re also losing out on plenty of vitamins and minerals that naturally make water the perfect drink.
It is recommended to consume mineral water instead as it includes minerals like salts and sulfur compounds from rocks and nature – after all it is supplied from earth’s natural springs. Mineral water helps you cleanse your body and is good for your health as you can get almost 4 times more nutrients and minerals compared to regular water.
Fun fact: Mineral water proves to be helpful in improving the quality of your skin by providing plenty of the needed nutrients and minerals to keep a healthy glow.
5. Fruits and vegetables are huge sources of water
Bored of plain water? Eat more fruits and vegetables! Some fruits and vegetables provide essential minerals, natural sugars, amino acids and vitamins that are very healthy. Plus, they keep hydrated. Here are some of the most water-rich fruits and vegetables:
→ Avocado is comprised of 81% water.
→ Cucumbers have a 96% water content and a good balance of electrolytes such as calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium.
→ Strawberries are made up of approximately 92% water.
→ Broccoli contains 90% water and is a very healthy choice. Broccoli has many health supporting compounds which are anti-inflammatory or have antioxidant properties. Anti-cancer nutrients found in broccoli are those that help cleanse potential toxins we encounter each day.
→ Grapefruit is comprised of 90% water.
→ Watermelon contains 92% water, 8% natural sugar, and essential electrolytes such as calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium. Watermelon is rich in Vitamin C, beta carotene and lycopene which will give the body protection from UV light.
Fun fact: Coconut water – which has become increasingly popular in many large cities (but has existed in several Asian countries for almost ever) is 95% water!
6. Choose your meals wisely
Find meals that contains vegetables or fruits to keep you hydrated and add nutrients to your body! You can be hydrated by keeping a balance between enough water daily and a healthy daily diet. There are many ways to consume fruits and vegetables; just be creative in the mix and match!
Here are some of the most water-rich meals:
→ Oatmeal: An easy and efficient way to stay hydrated as you start your day. Oatmeal is over 90% water and high in fibre!
→ Broths, porridge and soups
→ Vegetable salads
→ Bell peppers
→ Baked beans
→ Hummus toast
→ Cooked rice: it’s 70% water, an alternative being brown rice which can also help reduce weight!
→ Egg, Lettuce and Avocado BLT
Fun fact: Zucchini and tomato sauce are about 90% water!