6 Tips for Better Hydration
By Jenna Cutler
“Stay hydrated” or “drink more water” can sound like broken records, especially during summertime. Everyone knows that drinking water is healthy, but we often forget the real importance of hydration. The human body is made up of 60% water, and the kidneys, lungs, and heart are each over 75% water-based!
Sufficient water consumption promotes several important bodily functions:
Provides oxygen for the body
Eliminates waste from the body
Regulates body temperature through sweat
Makes tears and saliva
Hydrates reproductive cells
Absorbs shock in the brain and spinal cord
Drinking water helps the body carry out all of those functions. The goal of hydration is to keep your body fluid levels high enough to release the heat you produce to cool your body down during exercise. When it comes to exercise, proper hydration is just as important as proper fueling. Proper hydration also prevents GI discomfort, enhances power, and reduces muscle cramping.
Hydration guidelines vary per person and gender: for example, female athletes must consider their hormone’s impact on blood volume, sodium retention and loss, and
core temperature. Here are some general
tips and guidelines for staying hydrated:
1. Eat foods with high water content:
Fruits: watermelon, apples, cantaloupe, grapes, oranges, pears, pineapple
Vegetables: broccoli, cabbage, carrots, celery, cucumber, lettuce, spinach
2. Consume the Proper Hydration Solution:
A proper hydration solution should contain 3-4% carbohydrate (7-10m carb per 8oz) with sugars ranging from 7-9.4g of glucose and/or sucrose. The sodium content should range from 180-225mg and potassium at 60-75mg.
Good Examples Include:
GU hydration mix
Bonk Breaker Real Hydration
Many other sports drinks contain higher carb and lower sodium and key electrolyte content. While they may provide some energy, they end up causing dehydration due to the gut’s need to absorb these fluids. They also contain maltodextrin and fructose which can cause stomach discomfort.
Light sports drinks and anything artificially sweetened
3. Keep a water bottle with you at all times to remind you to drink water.
4. Drink to your thirst: Everyone’s hydration levels are different (.10 oz per lb. of body weight per hour in 75 degrees or below or .15 oz in temperatures 80 or above). Make sure to drink whenever you feel those first signs of thirst.
5. Pre-hydrating: Drink sufficient amounts of water the night before a big event. Special rehydration drinks like OSMO Preload (women's mix 1.5% solution with 1500 mg sodium per 8 oz) can help hyper hydrate by pulling fluid back into the bloodstream.
6. Coffee and sugary beverages do not count!
Avoid drinking too much coffee or sugar beverages as they are dehydrating and the more water you need to drink to compensate!
Jessica Mantell M.S., C.N.S., L.D.N.
CEO & Founder of NextGeneration Nutrition
NextGeneration Nutrition believes that better health should be accessible to everyone and that we all are able to improve our health through good nutrition, physical activity, and lifestyle change. We do not support setting shame-based goals but encourages embracing our bodies, genetics, and personality. Our philosophy is abandoning the “One Size Fits All” mentality to create a personalized wellness plan based on your biological makeup and your lifestyle.
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