Water makes up approximately 60% of your body weight. Drinking healthy liquids is needed to keep our bodies hydrated and functioning properly. Nearly all the body’s major organs and systems rely on water to function. While there are many different types of beverages available for drinking, not all of these are healthy. Discover the best and worst drinks to keep you hydrated with Bloom.
Why our bodies need to remain hydrated
Drinking enough fluids, especially water, throughout the day, is critical for good health. Medical experts recommend drinking 11 cups daily for women and 16 cups for men. There are many health benefits to keeping well hydrated. Some of these include:
- Improved mental performance. Mood, memory, concentration and reaction time are negatively affected if you become dehydrated. Keeping well hydrated will stabilise your mental functioning. It’s even believed to assist in combating anxiety.
- Temperature regulation. Your body will store and build up heat when you become dehydrated, which can increase your risk of developing heat stroke or heat exhaustion. Drinking plenty of fluids will help you sweat, which cools your body down.
- Aids with digestion. The digestive process requires water. If you’re not properly hydrated, this will interfere with the regularity of your bowel movements, causing painful bloating, constipation, and heartburn.
- Keep you feeling energised. Being dehydrated will slow down your circulation and adversely affect the flow of oxygen to your brain. This means that your heart will have to work harder: pumping more blood throughout the body, leaving you feeling fatigued. You could also lose focus and become sluggish. Keep your energy levels up by staying hydrated throughout the day.
- Weight control. Maintain your goal weight by drinking enough liquids. Not only does a well-hydrated body maintain a healthy metabolism, but it also helps you feel well, which means you are less likely to indulge in snacks or resort to emotional eating.
- Decreases joint pain. The cartilage in our joints is made up of approximately 80% water. So, it’s essential to remain well hydrated in order to keep the joints lubricated in order to reduce the risk of friction and painful joint pain.
- Good kidney health. Dehydration can cause poor kidney health, like the development of kidney stones. Kidney stones are caused by a build-up of mineral crystals in your urinary tract and drinking enough water will help dilute the concentration of these crystals. Water also helps flush out harmful bacteria from the bladder, preventing your risk of developing urinary tract infections.
- Detoxification. Staying hydrated will support your body’s natural detoxification process where waste is removed through perspiration, breathing, urination and bowel movements. Detoxification is needed for overall physical health.
- Health heart. A large proportion of blood is made up of water. If you become dehydrated, your blood becomes concentrated, which could cause an imbalance of electrolytes and minerals, like sodium and potassium, leading to poor heart health or functioning.
The best drinks to keep you hydrated
1. Water. H2O will always be the first prize when it comes to drinks that keep you hydrated. Experts agree that you should try to average at least eight glasses of water per day.
2. Milk. In addition to the rich calcium and vitamin D, milk also contains protein that helps keep you hydrated and fuelled with energy.
3. Fruit-infused water. If you’d like to add a bit of flavour to your water, then infusing it with fruit is a good idea. Try lemon or watermelon, or some herbs, like mint or lemongrass.
4. Sports drinks. This option can be a bit tricky so it’s best to read the labels carefully. Sports drinks that have a high water content and are rich in electrolytes keep the body hydrated. Just watch out for the ones that are high in sugar or caffeine as this could have the opposite effect.
5. Fruit juices. Natural fruit juice contains about 85% water, so it’s a good drink to keep you hydrated. Once again, you need to read the labels carefully. One of the best fruit juice to stay hydrated is watermelon. Always opt for 100% fruit juice, not a fruit juice blend which contains a high sugar content.
6. Tea. This is an infusion of water with flavourful leaves. Tea is also rich in antioxidants and is a natural diuretic. It’s best to try to drink your tea black and make sure you opt for the caffeine-free option for the best health results.
7. Coconut water. This drink contains 95% water and is one of the best drinks to keep you hydrated.
The most unhealthy drinks to keep you hydrated
- Fizzy drinks. Soft drinks or sodas have a high sugar or caffeine content, which can actually cause dehydration. It’s also bad for oral health. Try to moderate your intake of soft drinks.
- Alcohol. Any kind of alcoholic beverage, like beer, wine or hard liquor, will actually remove water from your tissue, causing dehydration. What’s more, you will have to consume even more water to replace the lost liquid. Remember that the higher the alcohol content, the more dehydrating the drink. Opt for a light beer or a wine spritzer to avoid dehydrating.
- Coffee. This type of drink is very high in caffeine. If you drink more than the daily recommended 200-300mm of caffeine, you can start to cause dehydration. Switch to decaf and limit your coffee intake to two cups per day.
- Energy drinks are not hydrating. These drinks are packed with caffeine, sugar and complicated chemicals, which means they’re not the right choice of drinks to keep you hydrated. Opt instead for a sports drink that will replace lost electrolytes.
- Smoothies. This one can be deceiving. While smoothies are packed with fruit, the particular recipe may offer a very thick consistency. Some smoothies are better to fuel the body or to re-energise after a busy workout. If you’re looking to rehydrate, it’s better to choose water.
The best times to stay hydrated
It’s best to be consistent when hydrating your body. It’s advisable to drink water (or a drink that keep you hydrated) throughout the day. However, there are certain times when you can consider rehydrating, like:
- First thing in the morning. It’s a great way to start your day and makes it easier to rehydrate throughout the day.
- Before a meal. Drinking water before you eat could help decrease the number of calories consumed during the meal.
- Before and after exercise. This will help replenish lost fluids. It will also assist in maximising your performance and recovery.
Get healthcare cover at affordable premiums
Bloom encourages members to commit to healthy living. This means keeping your body well-hydrated. Your body needs water in order to function properly so stick to the drinks that keep you hydrated. Make sure you and your family are covered and get affordable comprehensive health insurance. Compare Health4Me options, or contact our offices. A trained consultant can provide guidance in choosing a medical insurance plan for you.