Fluids, ain't Fluids
Summer landed this year with all her fiery glory, although now we have been left all soggy after the recent rains. All of this has made me think about hydration (although in the case of the rains - hyperhydration). Adequate fluid intake to maintain hydration is vitally important, with even mild hydration impacting on our mental and physical function. H2O a miracle molecule which makes up way over 50% of our body and is essential a healthy well-functioning, but many people opt for other sources of hydration.
Soft drinks are loaded with sugar and nasty chemicals which erode our good health. Fresh juices are ok but guarantee us we get a sugar hit with none of the nutrients or fibre that chowing down on the actual fruit, and processed varieties are, well, just that processed and filled with preservatives, colourings and extra sugar :(
Coffee, are yes, coffee you wonderful little cup of happiness, you’ll help me beat the afternoon slump? Ok, it’s bed time now coffee you can stop, no really STOP! One cannot live on coffee alone (I’m pretty sure I have tried) while it does add to your hydration quota it also interferes with sleep and can exacerbate some conditions. If you’re are having a cup of Joe, make it early in the day, make it one and make it a good one (not instant)! Be warned many of the popular flavours added to coffee (yes, I'm talking about caramel lattes and it's friends) comes with a massive hit of sugar, and your skinny latte is not as healthy as you think with skim milk concentrating sugar content – make it full fat!
Black tea and associated cousins, green and white also provide us with our daily caffeine hit but come with some of the same downfalls as coffee. Save them for earlier in the day, especially if you find that sleep is becoming an issue.
Energy drinks……. Grrrr! Have you ever noticed that the people who drink energy drinks are the least active people? You never see top athletes chugging one, wonder why that is? Seriously leave this stuff on the shelf, they are loaded with so many nasties (sugar, high caffeine, preservative and other chemicals) having NO health benefits at all.
Sports and electrolyte drinks provide all the essential electrolytes needed to help us re-hydrate quickly (apparently). However, they also come with a high sugar and chemical load. If you really feel that you need an electrolyte replacement drink coconut water (pure varieties) come pack with electrolytes without the chemical load.
So what should you be drinking? Good old H2O! Ideally straight from the source, or filtered then re-mineralised but any water is better than no water at all.
If your one of these people who find water boring try pimping it out. Adding flavourings to your H2O doesn’t mean adding a dash of Cottee’s. Try adding a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime. Drop a handful of frozen berries in the bottom of the water jug. Cucumber, mint and lime is super hydrating and cooling for summer months. Mix up the flavours have fun, there is no right or wrong only what tickles you taste buds. Add a couple drops of high-quality therapeutic grade essential oils (like doTerra), grapefruit oil is a house favourite at my place.
If this is a little too subtle for your taste buds herbal teas are also a great option. Try and choose organic variety’s where possible in the summer months try making them into iced teas for a cool twist. Herbs are medicine so they can be of benefit but they can also interact with some medications and conditions, if you are concerned, contact your herbalist or naturopath for advice and the best varieties for you.
Happy Hydration :)
Allison Faulkner is a qualified and accredited Naturopath, also holding additional qualifications in Nutritional Medicine. She runs a Naturopathy and Wellness clinic in Albion Park, NSW where she co-founded the Whole Life Wellness Programme.