"Oh yes I don't drink enough..." This is a sentence I hear almost every time I talk about water during PT session. Especially with Hong Kong weather, it is essential for our health to remember to drink enough, (and yes, preferably not alcohol ;)).
Here are some facts we need to remember, and some tips to help us!!
How much do I need to drink?
On a regular day, we should drink at least 2 litres of fluids a day. That is the minimum for our body to function well, and you need to had more for every circumstances when you are losing more fluids: Exercise: while exercising we are sweating between 0.8 litre to 1.2 litre an hour. Even if we don't feel it!!! Sickness : Any sorts of inflammation, and of course fever is the major one, are a cause of dehydration. The body needs a lot of water to heal itself. So if Nainai or Auntie is telling you to drink more water when you are sick, follow her advice. Weather : it's obvious, yet are we really drinking more when the weather is hot. Yet we need to remember to drink more as well when the weather is dry, and in higher altitude , often with a cold dry weather, as we won't be inclined to drink when the temperature are low. Yet when the air is dry, our lungs need more water, to fluidity the air coming in.
How do I know I am dehydrated? Thirst is one of the last symptom of dehydration. When we feel thirsty, our body is already quite dehydrated. Thirst also often doesn't "feel" like thirst, and is mistaken with hunger. Kids are especially exposed to this, as they don't "feel" the thirst and the heat at a same level as adult do, as they don't have their temperature balance mechanism as developed as an adult. Some of the first symptoms of dehydration is actually tiredness, lack of energy, irritability. They are symptoms we are usually relating to many things but dehydration. You can also feel dizzy, having a rapid heartbeat or rapid breathing, especially when you are exercising. Other signs of dehydration are urines becoming very dark and smelly, the skin looks dry and the eyes sunken.
Here a good reminder of what you need to know about dehydration
So.... What do you drink?
...WATER!!! :) The easiest and healthier way to rehydrate yourself is drinking water. A lot of people have trouble to drink plain water, and it is completely fine to add flavour to your water as long as there is no sugar. You can find plenty of great recipes adding lemon, cucumber, mint, or any other fruits or plants. If it requires a little bit preparation, it also helps a lot to drink more.
Here is few great ideas flavoured water recipes:
Sparkling water, soda water :) They are completely acceptable too, as long as there is with no sugar added (ex: flavoured water from the supermarket have sugar in it). There is a lot of wrong information going around about these waters (like they might be damaging for your intestin, your teeth, that those recarbonated, or are not "natural", whatever that means.) overall none of these info are relevant, and sparkling, soda water can be a great subtitute for people used to drink a lot of soda. All of them are as good for health as water, and perfectly fine for rehydration.
Here a great article for those who have concerns with Sparkling and carbonated water
Coffee. Tea :) Caffeine is known as being a diuretic, but none of caffeinated drink will create a dehydration by themselves. For those who like tea, especially iced and with very little theanine (theanine is caffein), it can definitely help with rehydration, and keeping your hydration in summer.
Juices are not always the best choice for rehydration as they contain a lot of sugar.( Apple juice can contain more sugar than a soda) Limit yourself to fresh made juices which keep most of the benefits of fruits.
Sports drink :
Sports drink contains minerals and sugar. There are useful only after 60 to 90 min exercise when the glycogen stock are depleted in the muscles and you need glucose to keep on exercising at a high intensity. If you want to lose weight, it's best not to use these drinks, even if you exercise outside in hot weather. There are some 0 sugar sports drink. There is usually some sweetener and are equivalent to Diet soda, with a possible stimulation of hunger. If you are worried about the loss of electrolytes when you exercise, it exist some electrolytes supplement you can add to water with no sugar and no additive. They are usually used in case a big dehydration, and most of us don't need this while exercising, even in a hot weather.
Sodas even with sweeteners (0 calories and diet), has been shown to stimulate hunger, and are not the best choice when you want to lose weight. If you don't have weight issue, then they are perfectly ok to rehydrate yourself long as it is not in a big amount, as an excess of sugar in the blood can lead to urinate more and dehydrate yourself.
And what do you eat?
Some food are mainly made of water and are perfect to keep a good hydration with the pleasure of eating something. it is mainly fruits and vegetable. As they contain a lot of water these foods are low in calories, and should become your best friends when you want to lose weight.
Berries especially strawberries and raspberries. Berries contain as well a lot of fiber, which helps not feeling hungry after. Pineapple and oranges. Cantaloupe, melon, watermelon : they are probably the fruits that contains the more water (around 90%). As they don't have a lot of fiber, it's better to eat berries if you are on a diet. Bananas : They don't contain a lot of water but as they are rich in potassium they can be helpful in case of dehydration, and banana are a great source of calcium.
Vegetables Iceberg Lettuce, Cucumber, Tomatoes, celery, Green pepper, cauliflower : Those vegetables are made for more 90% of water. Most vegetables contain a big amount of water.
Overall, having a good hydration is essential for an healthy living, and drinking water is the easiest and most efficient way to stay well hydrated. So just pour yourself a big glass of water and... Enjoy!! :)