With the upcoming long weekend finally on its way, many of us may be looking forward to indulging a little bit! So whether it’s plans to get away, or have friends over for dinner and drinks, we may find ourselves wandering off our healthiest path this weekend.
The dilemma: while indulging sounds like fun, we also don’t want to spend our weekend feeling sluggish and tired.
Never fear, fellow Healthoholics! There’s an easy way to help ensure we feel great all weekend, despite these indulgences: STAY HYDRATED! Follow these 3 easy steps to staying hydrated (and happy) this long holiday weekend.
Step 1: Understand IF you’re hydrated (and WHY you should be!)
It is estimated that 75% of North American’s are dehydrated — that’s most of us! Plus, as you may already know, the average adult is made up of 60-70% water. That’s close to three 5 gallon jugs of water!
Simply hydrating the body isn’t water’s only job; water also assists the kidneys in eliminating toxic waste, helps our colon to make bowel movements easier, and prevents wrinkles by keeping our skin hydrated, among many other things.
Long term, chronic dehydration can be the root cause or a contributing factor for many common conditions including kidney stones, cholesterol problems, constipation, joint pain, and muscle problems.
Think you might be dehydrated? Here are some common symptoms:
- Dry lips
- Dark/amber coloured and strong smelling urine
- Increased thirst
Hmm. So, now that we know why hydrating is so important, and what the symptoms of dehydration are, how can we avoid it in the first place?
Step 2: Avoid these dehydrating culprits
Okay, okay… avoid might be too strong of a word for these long weekend treats! But at least keep them in mind, so you can compensate with some extra water after you’ve enjoyed them.
Alcohol/Caffeine: Alcohol and Caffeine both have diuretic effects on the body. “But I thought coffee has some health benefits?”, you say? Yes, it may, for some of us. However, for anyone, excess caffeine can cause negative effects on our hydration levels. Keep in mind that caffeine isn’t just in coffee. Take a look at the content in energy or soft drinks, green tea or chocolate… you may be consuming caffeine you don’t even know about!
Rule of thumb: If you choose to indulge in caffeinated or alcoholic beverages, try to drink 1-2 cups of water per drink to compensate.
Sugar: We know… you hear about how sugar is addictive and evil on a regular basis. Unfortunately, you won’t hear any different in this blog! There are studies released almost daily on the negative effects sugar has on our bodies. So, you might not be surprised to hear that sugar is dehydrating. Just like salt, when we have an increase in sugar in our blood, it pulls water out of our cells which has a dehydrating effect on the body.
Step 3: Use these smart tricks to hydrate your body!
Guzzling plain H20 isn’t always the most exciting. And we’re all about health being fun! Here are a few ways to jazz up your hydration routine.
- Drink Electrolytes: Electrolytes are minerals that include sodium (regulates water balance), potassium (regulates heartbeat), and magnesium (prevents muscle spasms and cramps). We’re NOT talking about your stereotypical sports drink here (just take a look at the sugar content). Instead, opt for some coconut water, which is rich in naturally occurring electrolytes, or a more natural drink like Vega’s Electrolyte Hydrator or SISU’s Ester-C Boost To Go Packs, they’re naturally flavoured and contain the most important electrolytes.
- Eat water-rich vegetables & fruit: Drinking water doesn’t have to be your only option! Vegetables such as celery, cucumber and spinach are a few that contain high water content. As for fruit, watermelon, strawberries and peaches are great options, and great for kids! Vegetables and fruits are also an excellent source of fibre, vitamins and minerals.
- Watch Your Sodium Intake: I mentioned above that sodium helps to regulate water balance, but too much can do the opposite. Excess sodium forces the kidneys to flush out more water or even lead to water retention.
- Spruce Up Your Water: Add a few slices of lemon to your water. Lemon has the ability to boost digestion, balance the bodies pH, detoxify toxins and more! For even more of a nutrient boost, you can also try adding cucumber, strawberries, watermelon, mint, or ginger to your water — all of which have their own healthy properties. Or, try making a caffeine-free herbal iced tea!
Aim for at least 8- 10, 8 ounce glasses of water spread throughout the day to keep you feeling happy and healthy.
Cheers to a fun and safe long weekend!
What’s your favourite way to stay hydrated? Comment below if you have a favourite drink (or your own creation) that does the trick!