We’ve all heard about how important it is to up our H20 intake, but on a hot summer day, you probably need even more water than you’re drinking. That’s why it’s easy to get dehydrated and not even realize it. Staying hydrated is crucial because every part of our bodies, from tissue to cells, need water to work efficiently. It aids in digestion, regulates body temperature, lubricates our joints and staves off headaches. The truth is, while we all know drinking water is key to our health, it doesn’t always feel like an interesting choice. That’s why we asked the experts about other ways to stay hydrated this summer that aren’t water.
Coconut, maple and cactus water are often touted as being hydrating and a better choice than sports drinks. These trendy drinks may have some benefits, but depending on your goals you may want to consume them sparingly. “Coconut water is extremely hydrating but quite high in carbs and sugar, so it’s best to drink it in moderation,” says Jason Kozma, a celebrity personal trainer based in Santa Monica, CA. “Maple is just a natural sugar and there’s nothing special about it.” Cactus water, which has been recently touted by some as the next great thing, still has skeptics. In fact, though the Mayo Clinic reports that there is research suggesting it can mitigate some of the effects of a hangover, it’s too soon to label it a superfood. “Infused waters are a great alternative — just add lemon, lime, mint or watermelon for a refreshing combination,” Kozma says.
The summer staple can be a great source of antioxidants when freshly brewed but some of us skip it because caffeine is often touted as a diuretic. “This myth has been debunked,” says Tina Martini, fitness trainer, chef, and author of Delicious Medicine: The Healing Power of Food. “Whether herbal or caffeinated, it counts towards your daily water tally.” But stick to making it yourself because often the pre-made versions are high in sugar and lower in antioxidants.
While athletes rely on these to help restore their electrolytes — potassium and sodium — lost through perspiration, during normal bouts of exercise, most of us won’t need something that hardcore. Plus, they tend to be filled with things that we just don’t need. “Generally speaking, they contain too many chemicals,” says Martini. “It is better to make your own.” Or, add tiny pinches of pink Himalayan salt to your water. “It gets its color from Astaxanthin, a phytonutrient that removes free radicals from our bloodstream,” says Martini. Here is her spin:
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons lime juice
1-2 teaspoons honey, agave, or pure maple syrup
pinch of pink salt
pinch of cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon magnesium powder (if prone to muscle cramping use one teaspoon)
Whisk and enjoy!
Packed with electrolytes, phytonutrients, antioxidants and a healthy dose of vitamin C, the refreshing summer fruit is also 92% water, making it not just healthy but hydrating too. While it isn’t always ideal to tote a chunk of it around, WTRMLN WTR has managed to get all of its cold-pressed — even the rind —goodness in a slim bottle. It comes in six flavors and has no added sugars. It has even made fans of Beyoncé and NBA star Chris Paul.
You can also take advantage of all watermelon’s benefits from Martini’s post-workout drink. “Shrubs are old school drinks that have both a recovery benefit and are just downright refreshing,” says Martini. “They are making a comeback.”
Watermelon Recovery Shrub
1/2 cup coconut water or plain water
1/2 cup organic watermelon cubed, with the white part of rind (cut just the dark green off)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2-3 mint leaves
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
pinch pink salt
Blend everything together until smooth and frothy. Serve in a chilled glass.
The popular sipper seems like the perfect beverage, but it isn’t so. “It is really more of an adult Kool-Aid, plus many of the vitamins are not absorbed into the body,” says Martini. Indulge in fruits and veggies instead, since they’re jam-packed with vitamins and fiber. If you plan on consuming water with added vitamins, make sure to check the labels because the sugar content can be really high.