During this time of the year in Davis the sun isn’t shy and the temperatures are heating up. Everyone can agree that Spring Quarter can be tons of fun, but it’s essential to take care of your body and stay hydrated as the temperature rises. Water protects and hydrates our organs, transports nutrients to our cells and helps us stay energized and mentally sharp. It also balances the level of electrolytes — minerals such as sodium and potassium — in our bodies to keep our muscles functioning properly.
The best way to stay hydrated? Drink water of course! We’ve all heard we should be drinking a minimum of 8 glasses of water a day. That is two of your handy 32 oz Nalgene bottles that you can constantly refill at any hydration station on campus. If you are looking for a more personalized number, here is a method often used by dietitians to calculate the amount of water a patient needs: multiply your body weight in kilograms (divide pounds by 2.2) by 30 to get the milliliters of fluids you should be drinking per day.
Drinking enough water can be challenging, so check out these helpful tips to stay healthy and hydrated every day:
Always have that refillable water bottle handy. Most of the time we forget to drink water when we don’t have any on us. There are plenty of different water bottles on the market now that make staying hydrated more exciting. Opt for a stainless steel water bottle or a glass water bottle with a silicone sleeve in a fun color. Another tip is to stash your water bottle in the refrigerator overnight so it is chilled and ready to go for you in the morning.
SIP ON ELECTROLYTES
Water is the most beneficial liquid to keep your body healthy and hydrated. However, if you’re looking for some more excitement in your life, there are plenty of other liquids that can refresh and replenish your body. When we sweat, we lose electrolytes, which are minerals found in the blood that help to regulate (among other things) the amount of water in the body. For this reason, electrolytes are especially important for exercisers. While an ordinary workout may not require electrolyte-replenishing, those participating in longer and more intense periods of exertion, such as running a marathon or going through a particularly intense workout, will benefit from a good dose of electrolytes mid-workout. Sports drinks, as well as coconut water, contain electrolytes that can help replenish our bodies.
Tip: Fill your ice cube tray with coconut water, then pop the cubes into your glass to give water a nutty, slightly sweet taste.
TURN TO FRUIT
Fruit-infused water can also add some natural flavors and added benefits to what you’re sipping on throughout the day. A quick and easy way to improve the taste of your water is to add some lemon, a natural detoxifier and metabolism booster. Mint leaves are another way to add a refreshing flavor to water. The UC Davis Dining Commons resident dining locations have a variety of infused water available each day. Use these flavors as inspiration and come up with your own infused water flavor combinations at home. Some fruits and vegetables even have high water content that can contribute to your daily water intake. Watermelon and strawberries have the highest water content at 92%, while iceberg lettuce and cucumbers hold the highest percentage for vegetables with 96% water content.
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
Whatever you’re drinking, be it water, juice, or sports drinks, make sure to take a sip or two whenever you feel thirsty. Even if you’re not feeling totally parched, mild thirst is still a sign of impending dehydration. Another great way to monitor if you are dehydrated or not is when you go to the bathroom. Dr. Liz Applegate, UC Davis sports nutritionist, tells athletes that when properly hydrated, urine should be pale yellow in color. Although it might seem like a nuisance, if you have to go a minimum of four times a day, you are treating your body right.
Share your tips for staying hydrated in the comments below!
by Nikki Saheb, Clinical Nutrition student