We all know that being well hydrated is good for your overall health, especially when in a warm, dry climate like Arizona. But how much water does your body need? Is water alone enough to stay hydrated if you sweat more than normal? Are electrolytes needed to replenish our bodies? Village Clubs Dietitian, Jamie Miller, has helpful tips to get creative with your hydration and keep your body healthy.
How Much Water Do You Need?
Water makes up 60% of your body and is needed for nearly every bodily function. Adequate hydration is vital for healthy digestion, physical activity, mental clarity and energy, weight management, skin health, and detoxification. How much water do we need to drink to ensure our systems are healthy and hydrated? Aim for half of your body weight in ounces during a regular day of activity. You can use this handy calculator to account for activity and age as well. Your body may need even more water if you are active or spend extended time in a hot climate. We usually use thirst as our gauge for hydration, but that’s not the best marker since thirst can be decreased by factors such as age, stress, fatigue, and exercise. The best way to gauge true hydration level is the color of your urine. Aim for a pale, light yellow color. If your urine is a pale honey, transparent color, you are hydrated!
Are Electrolyte Beverages Needed?
If you experience high amounts of sweating, such as hours of yard work in the heat, or a difficult workout lasting more than an hour, our body’s essential electrolytes of sodium, potassium, chloride, phosphate, and magnesium can be depleted. But many electrolyte-containing beverages on the market are very high in sugar. A regular 20-oz sports drink has 34 grams of sugar in it, equal to 9 teaspoons of table sugar, which is about the daily recommended limit. Aim instead for an electrolyte powder, tablet, or supplement with no added sugar. Some examples are Nuun tablets, LMNT packets, Elete drops, or Hydrant packets. Another option can be a homemade electrolyte beverage:
Homemade Electrolyte Drink:
- ¼ tsp pink Himalayan salt
- 1 tsp powdered calcium magnesium (such as Calm Powder)
- ¼ cup pomegranate juice
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1 ½ cups unsweetened coconut water
- 2 cups cold water
- Stevia or monk fruit (or other sweetener) to taste
Put all ingredients in a large mason jar and shake. Taste and adjust sweetener to taste preference. Chill and serve. Makes 4 servings, 32 oz total.
Make Your Water Cravable
If you are not sweating excessively, adequate hydration can come simply through water. But to ensure you take in enough water, make it taste so delicious that you keep coming back for more. While there are many products that enhance the flavor of water, the key is to find a tasty choice that is not loaded with sugar or filled with artificial sweeteners, dyes, or other unhealthy additives. Instead look for ones that contain natural, no sugar options like stevia or monk fruit, fruit, citric acid, etc. Some quality products to try are Stur, Sweetleaf Water Drops , Mio, or True Lemon.
Or instead of a purchased product, try an at home flavoring option like infusing water with a combination of citrus, berries, melon, and fresh herbs. With a little creativity, you’ll have a flavorful pitcher of water that you’ll look forward to pouring a glass of. This recipe is also great for parties (like baby showers!).
Flavor Infused Water
- 1 cup produce of choice (citrus, cucumber, berries, melon, etc.)
- 2 sprigs of fresh herbs, optional (mint, basil, lavender, etc.)
- 8 cups water
- Raspberry + Lime
- Strawberry + Basil
- Cucumber + Lemon
- Watermelon + Mint
- Peach + Orange
Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher. Cover and refrigerate 3-12 hours before enjoying for best flavor.
If you have further questions about how to fuel your body best with proper food and beverage choices, or to schedule a one-on-one session with Jamie Miller, the Village Clubs dietitian, contact Jamie at firstname.lastname@example.org.