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10 ways to stay hydrated

By Nicola Monteath | February 09, 2014

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We ask the experts to share smart tips for staying hydrated, when the temperatures are soaring.

It’s never been more important to combat the dangerous side-effects of heat – especially in a dessert summer. Water makes up more than half of our body’s weight, and our cells, tissues and organs need to be hydrated to function optimally. Even if you think you’re spending all your time indoors, dehydration and its associated health risks could be just one glass of water away. In the summer, simply drinking the recommended eight glasses of water a day may not be enough. Here are some easy-to-follow ideas for upping your game when it comes to staying hydrated, from nutrition experts:

1. Add a dose of chlorophyll

This essential component found in plants is identical to haemoglobin and helps keep you hydrated, as it retains the water you drink so that you can fully benefit from it. “Drinking water promotes the synthesis of haemoglobin, which facilitates the transport of oxygen and water throughout your bloodstream to each and every cell of your body,” says Kaya Peters, whole food nutritionist and founder of Kayapeters.com (a holistic lifestyle and nutrition website). Adding a few drops of chlorophyll (available at Nutrition Zone) to water helps in rebuilding cells, replenish red blood cell levels, and increase energy. Helena Jane Brown, diet and lifestyle coach (helenajanebrown.com) advises deriving chlorophyll from foods such as spinach, broccoli, alfalfa sprouts and kale.

2. Avoid diuretic drinks

Lay off the alcohol and caffeine, as it can leave you feeling parched, lethargic and dehydrated. If you need a hot drink, opt for herbal teas such as green or chamomile tea as they are packed with antioxidants and nutrients. Shrin Janoos, Dietician at Health Factory, recommends drinking unsweetened green tea as it gives you a caffeine boost while contributing to the water intake quota of the day.

3. Get an electrolyte boost

Found in energy and sports drinks, electrolytes are minerals which break into small electrically charged particles when dissolved in water, and help regulate the body’s fluids while maintaining a healthy blood pH balance. The free ions in electrolytes contain sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride and hydrogen phosphate and carbonate which are vital for body processes such as hydration. Kaya suggests drinking a sugar-free energy or sports drink as it compensates for the loss of electrolytes which occur when you sweat a lot during summer. If you prefer a natural alternative, Helena recommends adding “a pinch of sea salt to a glass of water and drink it slowly, or combine the juice of ½ a lemon and lime, a whole orange, ¼ teaspoon sea salt and filtered water, as these are all great electrolyte replacements”.

4. Drink your fruit

Coconut water is packed with minerals, vitamins, amino acids and electrolytes which promote health benefits and hydration. “This natural energy drink acts as an oral rehydration medium, and being a natural isotonic beverage, hydrates perfectly as it has the exact proportion of electrolytes as human cells and plasma,” says Shirin. Try to drink coconut water fresh, straight from a young coconut, or if choosing bottled or packaged drinks, opt for those low in sugar.

5. Swap regular water for alkaline

Known as ionised water, this water transports minerals more rapidly and efficiently through the body as opposed to tap or bottled water. This is because alkaline water contains four to six water molecules, whereas tap water contains ten to thirteen water molecules. “It is an efficient fluid for hydration and detoxification of the body,” says Kaya. Make alkaline water by using an alkaline stick or ioniser (avialable at alkalineliving.me).

6. Remind yourself

If you forget to drink water as often as you should, set an alarm or reminder on your phone every hour. This should prompt you to immediately drink a glass, or refill the bottle on your desk. You could also keep a large bottle of water besides you, and make a mark on it with a time goal, to ensure you drink until that level by the particular time indicated.

7. Don’t stop sipping

Carry a bottle of water at all times, and make sure to drink around ten glasses a day. “Drink a full glass of water first thing in the morning before breakfast, and 15 minutes before each meal,” suggests Helena.

8. Eat water-based foods

Watermelon, grapes, papaya, oranges, berries, apples, tomatoes and lettuce, all have a high water content, and contribute to your daily water intake, while keeping you hydrated. Include soups in your diet as they are easy to digest, but make sure to choose low-salt varieties. Other ways to eat your way to hydration can include chopped tomatoes with salt and pepper as a snack, berries added to a fruit salad, or lettuce with a herb dip.

9. Reduce salt intake

Increased levels of sodium can dehydrate you, as excess salt causes fluid retention in the body, and makes high water concentrations appear lower – causing water to flow out of the cells and into the bloodstream. So make sure you stay away from the salt shaker and season dishes with herbs instead.

10. Give aqua a flavour boost

Add a slice of lemon, lime or a couple of basil leaves to intensify the taste of water, without adding extra calories. Akram Osma, nutritionist at Al Das Medical Clinic, also suggests adding herbs such as spearmint, peppermint, sage, or lemon balm to make water more nutritious and cooling.

Tried & tested

Take the juicy road to hydration by trying out one of these juice diets from Essentially:

Essentially Revitalisation juice cleanse:

On the lookout for a healthy way to detox, I opted for a beginners cleanse that isn’t extremely intense, but still detoxes the body efficiently. The three-day cleanse consisted of six 100 per cent raw and organic fruit and vegetable juices, which were meant to be meal replacements, to be consumed every two hours. The juices were delivered on the first day right to my door. My cleanse began with a refreshing Green juice (celery, cucumber, celery, apple, spinach, parsley, lemon and ginger) which was juice number one and three for the day; a fruity P.A.M (pineapple, apple and mint); Spicy lemonade (lemon, water, agave and cayenne); sweet and detoxifying Red roots (beetroot, carrot, apple, orange, celery and ginger); and a delightfully palatable Cashew milk (water, cashew, agave, coconut butter, vanilla, sea salt) which was the last juice of the day. Although I didn’t have severe hunger pangs at any point, I often felt the need to munch on something, and ate a few sliced cucumbers (one of the few foods allowed on the cleanse, apart from celery and avocado). By the end of the cleanse, I felt lighter and more energetic, although I didn’t lose any weight.

- Nicola Monteath

Essentially Work
Hard Play Hard supplement package:

As someone who diligently pops multi-vits and fish oils in, I was looking forward to getting my nutritional supplementation from some delicious juice – which I enjoy anyways. The juices, made using a hydraulic press – which is meant to preserve nutrients, live enzymes, and flavour of the fruit and veg better than traditional juicing – arrived the evening before I was meant to start, neatly packaged in individual bottles. I had four juices per day (which I could drink at any time) including their signature Green juice (packed with goodness); Orange roots (carrot, apple, orange); P.A.M (same as the one on the cleanse package); and a detoxifying GFA (Grapefruit, fennel, apple). Although the juices weren’t meant to replace my normal diet, they were not only delicious, but surprisingly filling, so I found myself eating less – one bottle completely replaced my regular breakfast, for example. Being off my normal supplements during this three-day period didn’t have any negative effect, and I felt my energy levels and overall wellbeing improving, as well as my skin condition.

- Sudeshna Ghosh