One major mistake far too many people are making in their diet plan is not tending to their hydration status. While it’s great to look at the foods you’re eating on a day to day basis and making sure you are doing everything you can to support a healthy body, don’t overlook how important it is to be drinking properly as well.
Many people are either not drinking enough or choose to drink beverages that really just don’t serve their body well. Let’s walk you through the main do’s and don’ts to know about so that you can hydrate wisely.
Do Drink Plenty Of Fresh Water
First, make sure that you’re drinking plenty of fresh water on a day to day basis. Nothing is going to be healthier and better for you than water, so this is a must. 8-10 glasses per day is what most people should strive for to get their hydration needs met.
Do keep in mind that fresh fruits and vegetables (along with broth based soups and herbal teas) will also count towards this intake, so be sure to increase your consumption of those as well.
Don’t Consume Commercially Prepared Smoothies
One thing that you don’t want to be doing is relying on commercially prepared smoothies. While these may seem healthy – they have real fruit and will also provide an excellent dose of dairy, they can also pack in hundreds of calories and far too much sugar overall.
If you want to have a smoothie, prepare it yourself. That’s the only way that you can know for certain what’s going in it and that you only use lower calorie, healthy ingredients. Many commercially prepared smoothies are loaded with high fat yogurt or even ice cream to add more taste and texture.
Do Drink More During Exercise
On those days where you’re doing intense exercise, remember to bring your fluid intake up. Whenever you are heavily sweating, you’ll be losing water far faster than normal and this water must be replaced. In some cases, you may not feel like you are sweating, but remember that you are perspiring just the same
You should aim to drink one cup before exercise and then one additional cup of water for every 15-20 minutes of exercise that you do. If you happen to be exercising outside in a sunny climate, you’ll want to nearly double this as you’ll be sweating even more with the temperature up.
Don’t Rely On Sports Drinks
One thing that you do not want to do is rely on sports drinks to meet your hydration needs around exercise however. Most sports drinks are loaded with sugar and calories that you just don’t need. Additionally, unless you are doing endurance type of events (lasting longer than one hour), you likely won’t need to worry about replacing lost electrolytes either. Water will work just fine.
If you are someone who is exercising for 90 minutes or longer (such as in a distance running race for instance), then you can consider using an electrolyte replacement beverage. But even then, be sure to watch how much total sugar it contains.
Do Add Lemon/Lime To Your Water
If you feel like drinking one more glass of water will have you screaming because you’re so bored with it, feel free to add a slice of lemon or lime to that glass. This will add a nice hint of flavor and both of these fruits are also great for detoxification purposes. They won’t add any calories or sugar to the water, making it a perfect, low calorie choice to help get your hydration needs met.
If sour isn’t your thing, you can also add in fresh berries as well for just that hint of flavor that will make it easier to get down. Raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, or sliced strawberries all work perfect here. Alternatively, cucumber and mint is another great flavor combo to consider trying.
Don’t Drink Diet Beverages
On the other hand, one thing that you do not want to be doing is drinking diet beverages on a regular basis. While one every now and then if you want a treat is not a big deal, if you are regularly consuming these, you are putting a high dose of artificial ingredients (sweeteners and other additives) into your body. This, over time, could lead to unwanted side effects such as headaches, bloating, as well as possibly even reduce your bone density. Diet soda, or any other flavored diet beverage for that matter, should be off limits.
Do Count Calories Of Any Liquids Consumed
Which brings us to our next point – calories. In the best case scenario, you would avoid almost all beverages that contain calories, with the exception perhaps of your home made protein smoothies/shakes. The problem with beverages that contain calories is that most people will not consume less food after drinking them, so those calories simply get tacked onto their daily calorie intake. The end result? Weight gain. You’ll find you feel far fuller eating your calories than drinking them, which is why sticking to water is such a smart move.
Don’t Drink Fruit Juice
Speaking of calorie containing beverages, that brings us to one more choice that you want to avoid – fruit juice. Some people come to believe fruit juice is a healthy option since it’s made with fruit, but this isn’t really so. The problem is that fruit juice is very high in total sugar content and as such, will spike blood glucose levels rapidly. This can then lead to unwanted weight gain and could even set you up for insulin resistance and diabetes. Whole fruit is a great and healthy choice. Juiced fruit is not. Remember that.
If you can pay attention to these hydration tips, you can rest assured that you’ll be on track to drinking what you should and feeling your best.
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