Summer is just around the corner, and there’s no better time to start creating a healthy habit of keeping your body regularly hydrated. As the weather warms up, it’s likely that you’ll begin to sweat more. Whilst sweat is part of a healthy lifestyle, it drains your system of two key components that keep you hydrated: water and electrolytes. Replenishing these sources is crucial in order to maintain a balance of fluids entering and leaving the body. Water has a number of roles within the body, such as regulating body temperature and lubricating muscles and joints. Electrolytes are also integral to remaining hydrated and are involved in functions such as conducting nerve impulses, contracting muscles, and stabilizing pH levels.
Remaining hydrated is not only crucial for general health but can greatly impact your exercise. Losing as little as 2% of your body’s water content can significantly impact your physical performance, leading to an imbalance in body temperature, lack of motivation, and mental and physical fatigue. This creates an unnecessary obstacle that hinders you from effectively progressing towards your fitness goals.
Hydration levels also have a powerful effect on energy levels and brain function, potentially impacting mood, memory, and feelings of anxiety. Increased fatigue can cause a lack of motivation, making it dangerously tempting to skip the gym. As your energy is dispersed across multiple areas of life, hydrating your body is crucial to help you maintain a balance.
It’s common knowledge that water is the best and purest source of hydration, but it can be too easy to lose track of your water intake during a busy day, or even miss it altogether. Each person will require different daily intakes of water due to individual factors such as gender, weight and activity. As a guideline, Nutrient Reference Values recommend that men consume 2.6L of water and women 2.1L of water daily.
However, approximately 20% of your daily water consumption will be derived from food.
If you find that tackling a 2L bottle of water every day is a tad overwhelming, below is a list of alternative sources that contain high water levels.
- Watermelon: As the name might suggest, watermelon has an extremely high water content of 92%. A 1-cup serving holds over half a cup of water (118ml), plus a healthy dose of antioxidants, fibre, nutrients (vitamins C and A) and magnesium. Not to mention, the calorie content of watermelon is fairly low, meaning you can fill up on it all you like!
- Strawberries: Strawberries are only slightly below watermelon in terms of water content, which makes up for 91% of the fruit. Strawberries are also jam-packed with fibre, disease-fighting antioxidants, and vitamins and minerals.
- Cucumber: Cucumbers are almost entirely made out of water (95%) and are one of the lowest containers of calories in comparison to other water-rich fruits and vegetables.
- Broths and soups: These meals are usually water-based, extremely nutritious, and low in calories, making them a perfect dietary option for weight loss.
- Plain Yoghurt: 1 cup of plain yoghurt contains more than 75% water. This amount will also contain about 17% of your recommended daily protein intake, making it a create snack to fuel and replenish your body on workout days.
- Coconut water: If you’re looking to make your typical water a little bit more interesting, try swapping it out for coconut water. As it’s rich with electrolytes, studies have shown that this water alternative can be beneficial for exercise recovery, providing a much healthier option than most sports drinks that are crammed with sugar. Don’t like the taste on its own? Add coconut water to your smoothies instead for a delicious drink that will give your hydration levels the ultimate boost.
There are loads of fruits, vegetables and other food sources that contain high quantities of water, but none of them can completely replace a pure glass of water. Start incorporating these foods into your diet alongside your daily water intake to create the habit of ensuring you are always adequately hydrated and ready to take on life!