We’re college guys, home for summer break. When not working or involved in our internships we are “shooting hoops” or working out. The guys and I have been debating about hydration and rehydration. Are all fluids equal?
Hi “Guys” and thanks for writing in?. I appreciate your interest and question. Thank you for bringing this topic up for all our readers. If one needs to quench thirst immediately, and there is a lack of choices available, anything will do. However, not all fluids are equal. Let’s explore!
Best Hydration Sources
Zero calories, inexpensive, accessible and essential for body function. There is nothing like a glass of ice cold water when dripping with sweat and overheated from exertion. Water is essential for: carrying nutrients and oxygen to cells; flushing bacteria from the bladder; preventing constipation; normalizing blood pressure; protecting organs and tissues; regulating body temperature and maintaining electrolyte (sodium) balance.
Many people do not get the recommended eight cups (64 oz.) of water daily, which is essential for good health and wellbeing.
Infusing your water with fruit is a healthy way to add flavor without adding sugar. Fruit infused-water contains essential vitamins and minerals that make this refreshing hydrating drink healthful.
1. Infuse with water, lime, basil, cucumber and mint.
2. Cut up strawberries, mango, orange and mint leaves. Then infuse with water.
Fruit juices contain 85 % water, loaded with nutrients and super for hydrating! Be mindful of the sugar content, though, as juices can be packed with added sugars, which can inhibit hydration. So, if you’re drinking a lot of fruit juice, water it down. Best to select 100% fruit juice varieties or make your own fresh squeezed juice. For a special treat, freeze juice pops?
OK, so this isn’t a drink—but every time you eat watermelon, you’re retaining 92 % of the liquid you’re eating. That’s better than fruit juice! If you are going to be outside playing ball, cut up some watermelon and keep it in a cooler filled with ice and cold drinks recommended in this column. Watermelon—refreshing, hydrating and satisfies hunger!
Advertisements rave about the hydrating power of sports drinks. Sport drinks contain salts and electrolytes. Did you ever notice how sweat is salty? That’s because sweat contains salt and other electrolytes lost in the perspiration. Sports drinks replenish water and electrolytes. Easier to drink quickly for those who force-hydrate themselves or who need quick rehydration. Again, watch the sugar, carbohydrate and calorie content.
Anyone for Tea?
Caffeine free teas are great, especially if it’s just an infusion of leaves in hot water. It doesn’t matter if it’s herbal, black, green or chamomile; hot or cold—tea is just about as hydrating as water. Tea is also packed with antioxidants. Remember: Caffeine is a diuretic. Diuretics cause the body to lose water through the kidneys. So if you’re drinking coffee, soda, tea or any other beverages, be sure they do NOT contain sugar.
Coconut water boasts 95 % water and is very hydrating. It also contains lauric acid, which had been associated with helping remove harmful bacteria from the body, eliminating intestinal parasites and other harmful microbes. It is highly nutritious and contains essential electrolytes, vitamins and minerals.
Because it’s so much thicker than water, you might think that milk cannot hydrate, but that’s not the case. In addition to calcium and vitamin D, milk contains protein and carbs. to keep you fueled on even the hottest of days
Lactose intolerant? Hydrate with soy, almond, oat, macadamia, coconut, rice, cashew, hemp seed and/or lactose free milk. All contain nutrients and fluid to replenish.
Avoid flavored milk such as chocolate, strawberry or vanilla. These types add extra, unnecessary sugar and are less hydrating.
A word about sugar: It increases the body’s water needs in order to metabolize it. Therefore, it is not helpful for hydrating or rehydrating.
The Worst Rated Drinks for Hydration
Some liquids actually work against your hydration goals. Make sure you’re not reaching for any of these beverages next time you’re thirsty. They dehydrate your body!
- Sodas-diet or regular varieties
- Alcoholic beverages
- Coffee-caffeinated beverages
- High-sugar soft drinks
All of the above adversely affect hydration and rehydration status. Caffeine is a diuretic and sugar and alcohol are too! Alcohol is made up of alcohol sugars and often used in the food industry to sweeten products. Examples are: xylitol, erythritol and maltitol.
*So, next time you want to grab a Diet Coke or a Cold Beer when you’re thirsty, swap out for sparkling water, especially if you love that carbonation!
Keeping adequately hydrated is important in all seasons but in summer, dehydration is more prevalent. Exercising in summer heat and humidity can cause dehydration. It is preferable to select the fluids that are recommended in this column but in an emergency any fluid will do.
Guys, while working out keep in mind—
Signs of Dehydration
Feeling thirst; dry mouth, eyes and lips; feeling dizzy; feeling tired; headache; nausea; confusion; lack of sweat; poor concentration; decreased skin turgor; reduced and dark colored urine output; temperature of 103°F; muscle twisting; rapid pulse; seizure and eventually … death.
To maximize your summer workouts safely with personal training and sports nutrition intervention, call Nutrition Transformations.
Yours in good health,
Check out our August Blog
By Jennifer Chapler MS RD CDN