With summer fast approaching, your focus may be zeroing in on beach days, vacays, and getting a serious boost of vitamin D. But make sure you're truly treating your body right. Step No. 1? Staying hydrated.
When it comes to our bodies, "we are water," explains health coach and trainer Holly Rilinger. The human body is made up of nearly two-thirds of water, so losing even 1 to 2% of our water content (which can happen just through sweating during a tough workout on a hot summer day) can start to affect the quality of many bodily functions, from digestion to the immune system, even our mental performance and mood.
But we get it: Staying hydrated does take a little effort on our part. Read on below for some easy ways that you can keep your hydration levels up on the daily:
1. Ice it up.
Put those forsaken ice cube trays in the back of your freezer to work this summer: Any time your picnics and barbecues leave you with leftover watermelon, cukes, and bottles of coconut water, blend them up and pour them into your ice cube trays. Frozen, these guys can easily be tossed into smoothies or a regular ol' glass of water to add a hit of extra hydration.
2. Keep your taste buds happy.
For many of us, a bit of flavor is the key to success. But think twice before grabbing the first cotton-candy-colored sports drink you see. Many studies have debunked the myth that conventional sports drinks hydrate better than water. Plus, unnecessarily high carbohydrate concentrations in sports drinks can leave you feeling bloated. No thanks.
One solution for staying hydrated deliciously without the extra stuff your body doesn't need? Opt for a clean and simple water enhancer. Make sure it's got an ingredients list that you can actually pronounce—one like True Lemon's Hydration Helpers, which come in citrusy drink mixes like unsweetened zero-calorie True Lemon and their naturally sweetened 10-calorie True Lemonade, all to flavor your water with that fresh-squeezed taste we crave during summer. The key is that they're made with clean, non-GMO ingredients, meaning no artificial flavors and preservatives and none of the saccharine sucrose commonly found in many other H2O enhancers. Shop True Lemon's entire family of products, and find a store near you at truelemon.com.
3. Eat your fruits and veggies raw.
Save the grill for the burgers. It's recommended to get at least 20 percent of your daily water intake via foods, and raw fruits and veg are where it's at. "Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables in the summer months," says Rilinger. "Foods like cantaloupe, strawberries, watermelon, celery, and spinach are 90 to 99 percent water." These types of foods are full of nutrients and fibers that help to absorb water content in your body better.
4. Just add chia seeds.
OK, so you know about watermelons and cucumbers. But what about the hydration potential of a spoonful of chia seeds? Thanks to their ability to absorb many times their weight in water, chia seeds are hydration superstars, helping regulate your body fluid levels and retain electrolytes (vitamins and minerals like potassium, sodium, and magnesium that our bodies need to function properly)—both key components to fighting dehydration.
Enjoy this small but mighty superfood by the tablespoon added to your smoothie, on top of your oatmeal, or sprinkled into a salad—you know, along with some watermelon and cucumber slices for extra points.
5. Hydrate before you sweat.
If you've got a hike, bike, HIIT class, hot yoga sesh, you name it, on your day's agenda, drink up before your vigorous activity to compensate for the fluids your body will eventually lose. It's especially important if you know you'll be sweating a lot—like a workout in infrared heat or any activity that will last longer than the typical 50-minute boot camp.
"It's harder to play catch-up," says Rilinger. "When you are thirsty, you are already behind. Drink 8 ounces [or more] of water before any activity and sip water every 10 to 15 minutes throughout." So when you bring your A-game, don't forget your water bottle.