We're currently experiencing a heatwave in New England (and all across the globe, in fact) so there's never been a more appropriate time to talk about hydration! This subject is so important and effects so many aspects of our wellbeing—not just when it's hot outside, but every day of the year.
Here are just a few of the essential functions that water helps our bodies to perform:
- It helps to flush our bodies of toxins (via sweat and elimination)
- It lubricates our joints
- It helps regulate body temperature
- It works to maintain skin elasticity
- It assists in the production of hormones and neurotransmitters
- It delivers oxygen throughout the body via our blood which is 90% water
...The list goes on and on and on!
Sources all agree that staying hydrated is one of the most essential things we can do for our health. Yet there isn't a standard, universally agreed upon quantity of water that should be consumed daily. So how do we know if we're drinking enough?
The truth is, it's easier to tell if you're not drinking enough water. Some of the most common, telltale signs of dehydration are: dark yellow urine, a dry mouth and lips, peeing fewer than four times a day, constipation and incessant thirst. If you're chronically dehydrated, the symptoms can get much more serious. Those include sunken skin, chronic fatigue, headaches and light-headedness. So if you're experiencing any of those symptoms, it's time to take hydration more seriously!
How to Stay Hydrated
Drinking more water is, of course, the most obvious way to stay hydrated—but it's not the only way. Actually, a large quantity of the water we ingest should be coming from fresh fruits and vegetables. If you're eating enough of those, you won't be at risk of dehydration. Yet another reason to go plant-based!
Homemade, unsweetened iced tea and water infusions are another way to drink more. Keep a pitcher of water in the fridge with sliced cucumber and lemons in it. This is sometimes called "spa water" and it's so refreshing! You can also steep any of your favorite hot tea bags in cool water overnight for a kind of "cold-brew" tea. Fruity teas like peach or hibiscus are especially delicious for this, and you can top them off with some lemon juice and crushed fresh herbs for variation.