Nutrition Notes: how to hydrate healthily

Nutritional therapist Eve Kalinik shows us how to keep our bodies hydrated


Nutrition Notes: how to hydrate healthily

Hydration, or the lack thereof, is something that I consistently reinforce with my clients. Many of us wonder why we have afternoon slumps, food cravings, headaches and sluggish digestion – often this can be a simple symptom of not taking in enough water. We’re made up of almost 60 per cent water and pretty much every cellular process is conducted in a water environment, so it’s no wonder we need to make sure that our bodies are well-hydrated.

This also contributes to supporting digestive processes, as well as transporting oxygen and vital nutrients in the blood and around the body. As a general guide, we need to take in around 1.5 to two litres per day, but this should be increased if you are exercising or travelling by air.

But hydration isn’t just about water; you can eat your way to this by having plenty of water-rich plant-based sources, too. The body actually holds onto our water more efficiently when it comes from our food, so it’s always worth adding water-rich ingredients to your meals. Watercress and watermelon (hence their name), cucumber, green leafy vegetables, celery and strawberries all contain nearly 95 per cent water, but most non-starchy vegetables will also do a good job of hydrating us. Smoothies and juices can help top up our water levels, too – whizz up watermelon, cucumber and mint for a delicious hydrating tipple.

Make sure that your water comes from a clean source. Try to avoid plastic bottles – they contain chemicals called xenoestrogens that can leach into the water itself. These mimic oestrogen, and can affect the body’s own hormonal activity. A glass bottle is ideal.

Investing in a home filtration unit is also worth the money. EVA water filters are easy, convenient and require no plumbing. The best filtration system is a reverse osmosis process that also takes out hormones – most regular filters won’t do this. For more information, check out The Pure H2O Company.

How to keep your thirst quenched:

  • MAKE IT INTERESTING. Add slices of lemon, mandolin-sliced cucumber, fresh mint leaves, lime wedges and even a pinch of cayenne to make all the difference to your water.
  • SIP THROUGHOUT THE DAY. Don’t get to the end of the day, realise you haven’t had enough and chug back lots of water in one go. We can over-hydrate ourselves too, so little and often is the key mantra here.
  • HAVE A GOAL. Buy a beautiful jug, or a new Brita filter, and have it on your desk at work or in the kitchen where you’ll see it. That way, you’ll be more inclined to drink regularly. A plastic bottle with its label peeling off isn’t very appealing and clients often tell me they don’t have time to go to the water machine, so this way you can cut out the excuses!
  • HERBAL TEA COUNTS. In all their variety, herbal teas are another great and delicious way of increasing your intake. My fave go-to brews are Joe’s Tea Co, Pukka and Clearspring. Coffee has a dehydrating effect, so just stick to one organic freshly ground cup in the morning after breakfast.

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Photograph: iStock