Water is an essential nutrient needed to stay well, and during hot summer months it is extra important to replenish the body’s water. Humans lose water throughout the day in a variety of ways – breathing, sweating, urination, and bowel movements – and heat, longer daylight + waking hours, and increased activity in the summer means we need more water to stay well hydrated. Additionally, the high altitude and dry atmosphere in Colorado impact breathing and water use, so individual water needs are greater.
If you struggle to drink enough water through the day, don’t fret. There are plenty of ways to get your fluid needs! While plain water is ideal for the majority of our drinks, we can achieve adequate water intake through a variety of means. Listed here are 5 ways to help you stay hydrated:
- Prepare infused water for subtle flavor and a pop of color. Infused water is simple to make and adds a mild touch of flavor to otherwise plain water. Fill a pitcher with water, add fruit or veggie slices plus a fresh herb, if you like, and chill in the refrigerator overnight. By morning, you will have a delicious infused water to enjoy throughout the day. Infinite combinations exist – get creative and find what you like best! Here are a few combos to get you started: cucumber mint, lemon basil, blueberry lavender, orange raspberry + rosemary, strawberry lime + mint, watermelon honeydew + mint. This post gives more in depth instructions and ideas.
- Enjoy unsweetened tea. Traditional iced tea is made by steeping tea leaves in hot water until a natural flavor is acquired, and then it’s chilled and served cold over ice. Without cream or sweeteners added, each cup of tea can be counted towards a person’s total water intake. Nowadays, there are many tea varieties, flavors, and brands available, including instant tea that comes as a powder and prepares in seconds. There are also iced tea bags that steep in cold water and are ready for consumption in 3 – 5 minutes. These options are convenient and can be a nice solution to drinking more non-caloric fluid; however, they do not have the same antioxidant benefit of brewed teas due to the extra processing required. If you want the antioxidant power, take extra time to brew tea bags or loose-leaf tea in hot water, then chill.
- Put some bubbles in your water. Adding carbonation to water is a fun and harmless way to add some interest to plain water. Carbonated, or sparkling, water is simply water that has been infused with carbon dioxide gas under pressure. Some retail brands have also had sodium added to improve the taste, so it’s important to read ingredients to make sure the drink fits your health needs. Many sparkling water options can be found in stores, and the best options are those without added sugars or sodium. Natural sparkling mineral waters (like Perrier or San Pellegrino) are different. These waters are captured from a mineral spring and tend to contain natural minerals and sulfur compounds. Another fantastic option is to buy a sparkling water maker for your home. With one of these and a bottle of carbon dioxide gas, you can make unlimited sparkling water at the touch of a button from your tap water at home.
- Add ice cubes of 100% fruit juice to your water bottle. If you’re still learning to enjoy unsweetened drinks, try a step-wise method of incrementally reducing the sweetness in your drinks. One excellent idea for this is to use fruit juice ice cubes in your water. As the ice cubes melt, the water will be mildly sweetened. Simply fill ice cube trays with your favorite flavor of 100% fruit juice (pineapple, grapefruit, apple, grape, orange, lemon, etc.), freeze for at least 4 hours, and then use 1 cube per every 8 ounces of water. Try to use less over time. As we change our eating habits, our taste preferences also start to change. Challenge yourself to consume less sugar over time.
- Eat more fruits and veggies. Natural foods contain varying amounts of water, and fruits + vegetables are the best source for this additional fluid. It all counts towards our daily water needs, so eat up! Adults needs at least 2 cups of fruits and 3 cups of veggies each day. Include berries at breakfast; eat a salad with lunch; snack on carrots and dip; add grilled veggie skewers to dinner; enjoy an apple with cinnamon for dessert. The options are endless for enjoying fruits and veggies. If you’re feeling stuck, do an internet search for creative uses of your favorite fruit or veggie to help break out of the rut, and get adventurous in the kitchen. Chat up your local farmer at the market to learn about their favorite ways to prepare and eat what they’re selling. For curiosity’s sake, this list contains information on the water content of many fruits and veggies.
So there you have it, five ways to stay hydrated this summer! What are your best tips and tricks for getting enough water? Share with us in the comments below.