Amp Up Your Hydration
[This post was updated with new recipes on July 12, 2017.]
Water is nature’s most important nutrient. Think about it. Scientists have been studying our solar system – and beyond – in search of water because it’s a key ingredient necessary to support life. Without it, no living being can survive.
And with the heat index registering well over 100°F this week in the Midwest, I can’t stop thinking of ways to stay hydrated. In this intense heat, water intake becomes crucial.
Without adequate hydration, it’s common for weakness, fatigue, dry mouth, confusion, irritability, and headaches – all symptoms of dehydration – to set in before realizing that your body is in a state of imbalance. For those of us who may already be suffering from some of these symptoms, which are also common with Hashimoto’s, hydration status becomes even more important.
Our bodies are made up of nearly 60% water, which is necessary for all of our bodily systems to function, especially our nervous system and muscles. Water is also vital for regulating our heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature. Lastly, water helps to remove waste from the body and helps to keep our metabolism fired up.
So, are you getting enough water?
One of the best ways to tell is to monitor your urine output for several days. If your urine is cloudy or dark in color, like the color of apple juice, then you may not be adequately hydrated. Work on increasing your fluid intake and see if after a few days your urine clears up and lightens in color, closer to the color of lemonade.
A good rule of thumb for calculating how many ounces of water you need is to take your body weight and divide in half. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, try to consume 75 ounces of water per day.
Fortunately, fluid intake doesn’t have to be bland or boring and it doesn’t have to come solely from water. Here are 5 simple things you can do to help amp up your hydration and keep cool as a cucumber this summer:
- Remember to drink before you become thirsty. By the time you notice that you’re parched, you may already be slightly dehydrated. Carry a stainless steel or glass water bottle with you at all times to enjoy beverages like pure water, sparkling water, or unsweetened herbal sun teas. It’s best to avoid water in plastic bottles, even BPA-free plastic.
- Minimize excessive amounts of diuretic liquids such as coffee and alcohol. Be sure to add an additional glass of water for every cup of diuretic beverages you drink.
- Kick the can. For a more nutritious alternative to soda, opt for mineral water, plain or mixed with 2-4 ounces of fruit juice. Garnish with frozen berries and grapes as your ice cubes. Avoid mineral waters or “flavored” waters that contain artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners.
- Brew an antioxidant-rich sun tea. Peppermint or hibiscus teas are naturally caffeine-free and make a cooling a delicious beverage. Place 8-10 tea bags in a large glass gallon sun tea dispenser and fill with fresh water. Set out in the sun for a few hours then refrigerate until you’re ready to enjoy.
- Up your intake of juicy, hydrating fruits and veggies. This is the season to be consuming lots of cooling cucumbers, juicy watermelons, and succulent tomatoes. These produce items have high water content and can help rehydrate you. Use them to make a chilled gazpacho soup, a smoothie, or a simple snack.
RUBY RED SMOOTHIE
1 cup water
1 whole orange, peeled and segmented
¾ cup fresh or frozen strawberries
¾ cup fresh or frozen raspberries
¼ cup shredded beets
1 tablespoon raw honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Optional: 2-3 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
Ice, as desired
Place all ingredients in a high powered blender in the order listed and puree for 30-60 seconds. Add ice to reach desired coldness and consistency, especially if berries are fresh (not frozen).
Cook’s note: Make a double batch and pour leftovers into popsicle molds. Freeze for 4-6 hours before eating.
2 medium tomatoes, pureed
1 small jalapeno pepper
3 cups cubed fresh watermelon
1½ teaspoons red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons minced red onion
1 medium cucumber, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- In a blender, puree the tomatoes, jalapeno, and 1½ cups of the watermelon.
- Add the vinegar and olive oil and pulse.
- Add the onion, half of the minced cucumber, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper and puree until smooth.
- Pour into bowls and add the remaining cucumber and watermelon. Garnish with parsley.
MINTY CUCUMBER LEMON WATER
8-10 cups of water
1 organic cucumber, thinly sliced
1 organic lemon, thinly sliced
4 sprigs of mint, destemmed and finely chopped
Add water, cucumber, lemon, and mint or other fresh herbs to a large pitcher and stir. Refrigerate overnight to allow flavors to mingle before serving.
WATERMELON LIME with HONEY & BASIL
8-10 cups of water
1 cup watermelon, rind removed and cubed
2 organic limes, thinly sliced
¼ cup local honey
¼ cup basil or mint, finely chopped
Add water, watermelon, limes, honey, and basil or other herbs to a large pitcher and stir. Refrigerate overnight to allow flavors to mingle before serving.
RASPBERRY LEMON SPRITZER
½ cup frozen raspberries
12 ounces plain unsweetened mineral water
1 lemon wedge
Place raspberries in the bottom of a large glass. Fill glass with mineral water and garnish with a lemon wedge.