Hydration is such a big deal that it’s turned into its own industry. Just observe some advertising…you’ll see all kinds of electrolyte and “hydration” drinks paired with popular actresses and professional athletes. These drinks come in different colors and exotic flavors and it’s a highly profitable and competitive business. The ironic part is that plain old water is the best thing to hydrate with and it’s free! Not to mention that the fancy brands are loaded with extras like sugar, corn syrup and artificial colors like electric blue and neon green.
If you’re not a plain water lover there are, of course, inexpensive ways to make water more appealing like getting your hydration with herbal teas, adding citrus slices to a big pitcher as well as buying the bubbly kind.
One of the major benefits of eating a diet rich in plants and whole foods is the high water content in plants. Water adds volume without extra calories which is yet another reason why people on plant-rich diets tend to be slimmer. The extra volume created by the high water content also helps us feel full quicker during a meal as that volume affects the stretch receptors in our stomachs which, in turn, signal our brain that we’ve had enough to eat. Some pretty nice benefits from such a simple, readily available (and free) source, no?
Let me run through a few more advantages of being well hydrated. They include:
- More energy
- Better cognitive function (your brain tissue is 85% water) There have been studies that indicate that even mild dehydration affects children’s cognitive performance.
- Better exercise performance
- Beautiful skin
And…one more really important reason to drink at least 8 glasses of water every day (more if you exercise). Whole Foods diets naturally have the added advantage of high fiber content in all the fruits and vegetables we eat. Being well hydrated means that all that fiber can pass easily in the form of large, easy bowel movements.
A diet high in fiber is linked to lower cholesterol, lower risk of cancer as well as a decreased risk of other issues such as diverticulitis, constipation, excess estrogen…the list goes on! But, in order to actually let the fiber do its job, we need the hydration component to soften and add bulk to our stools so they can readily exit the body. A lot of poop talk, I know. But, when we understand how everything works together, it makes it much easier to find the motivation to make the best choices!
I know that mentioning hydration isn’t exactly a new revelation. But, I feel like it bears repeating, especially on a blog dedicated to health and nutrition. And, it never hurts to be reminded since most of us are at least occasionally guilty of shortchanging ourselves on the water intake from time to time.
My personal tip is get your first liter of water before you leave the house each morning. I keep a cold bottle of water in the fridge overnight so that as soon as I wake up I can grab it (I tend to drink more water if its nice and cold). Then, I basically carry it around from room to room as I shower and get ready for the day. It’s also a great pre-workout habit to get super hydrated before you work up a sweat!