My article in Yahoo - Lifestyle on 'STAY HYDRATED STAY HEALTHY'
HEED TO HYDRATION THIS SUMMER
Drinking water is akin to staying alive! Our water intake is swayed by our lifestyle, activity and weather. The scorching heat that entices air conditioning swindles water and depreciates electrolytes leaving you in the lurch. The ironical truth? Most do not drink adequate water.
The following 10 tips will help inflate your water bounty.
BALANCE BODY FLUIDS
Water accounts for two-thirds of body weight and the brain alone is 73 % water. Water aids all bodily functions - digestion, absorption, circulation, brain function, nerve conduction, muscle contraction, moist nasal passages, lubrication, blood pressure and overall metabolism. Optimal hydration helps to detoxify, maintain supple skin, flushes out toxins, prevents UTI, kidney stones and constipation. It is essential to replenish water lost in breath, perspiration, urine and bowel movements each day as cells and muscles shrivel and rejuvenate only in ampleness of water.
THINK BEFORE THIRST
Thirst is the first indication of dehydration. Dry mouth, light headedness, poor concentration, flushed skin, headache, cramping, tiredness, dark colored urine, muscle weakness and dizziness all point daggers to common slip ups of inadequate water intake. Sip water at regular intervals to remain dexterous and dashing even before the first symptom of thirst ensues.
PLAIN IN PLENTIFUL
Fruit juices, sweetened tea, the confusing concoctions of coffee, aerated drinks, colas and beer are piled with empty calories. The 8 : 8 thumb rule ( 8 glasses of 8 ounce water) is debunked. Hydration is highly individuate and simply disperse a glass of plain water or flavored with lime, basil or mint, every other hour to visit the washroom alternatively. Befriend water to watch weight at bay. Research proves a glass of water half hour before meal curbs excessive caloric intake. Cold water also speeds up metabolism and helps burn more calories.
Humid warm weather derails water symmetry. Choose low calorie unsweetened beverages like tea - green, white, black, lemon, herbal teas, chamomile tea, barley or jeera water. Cold and clear soups are welcome appetizers to simmer soaring temperatures. Be persuasive to guzzle down adequate water even on cooler days. Avoiding sugar to compensate with artificial sweeteners may not be commendable. Water, even food, from unhealthy sources and street hawkers harbor bacteria (E. coli, Vibrio cholera) and viruses which lead to infections and food poisoning that dwindle H2O.
NATURAL IS NICE
Nature’s benevolence offers an avalanche of hermitic choices - tender coconut water, Kokum, Sherbets, other naturally based beverages like aam panna, barley water and jaljeera that have natural digestives to help rejuvenate without having to worry on piling calories. Flavored buttermilk of umpteen seasonings (pudina, coriander, ginger, raw mango, green chillies, hing, jeera) enhance digestion and bestow immune intensifying bacteria. Flavored soya milk ( Mango, Kesar – Pista, Strawberry, Chocolate ) or hot chocolate can be amazing satisfying snacks. Hung curd or Greek yogurt makes a great dip and even a delicious dessert topping instead of cream. Opt for gruel or porridges (oats, ragi, red rice), vegetable based light gravies and stews.
Herbed water with thyme or basil, tea – either black or green, lemonade and iced tea are delectable frosty. Popsicles, frozen fruits, fruit coolers double up as low calorie-low fat desserts. Lassi, milk shakes, kefir, smoothies with berries, apple, banana, grapes, pear, mango, fruit yogurt or curd with fruit crushes, frozen or chilled add zing to a mediocre meal. Fruits are a whirl of wealth with antioxidants, vitamins, heart healthy fiber and potassium and are absolutely fat, sodium and cholesterol free.
EAT YOUR WATER:
20 % of water is concealed in food ! Cucumbers, tomatoes, capsicum, broccoli, onions, carrots, eggplant, celery, cabbage are not just superstar antioxidants with vitamin A, vitamin C, lycopene, beta-carotene but are low in calories and eminent water benefactors. Switch mayonnaise and other high calorie dressings with fresh herbs - basil, parsley, sage, dill, thyme and mint to summate water. Fresh vegetable based chutneys made of ridge gourd, raddish, tomato, raw mango yield myriad flavors. Pachdi or raita of creative combinations with pineapple, mango and strawberries can trick taste buds with mesmerizing tang. Watermelon, orange, muskmelon, strawberries, sweet lime, pear, peaches are about 90 % water. Fruit salads, grilled pineapple, stewed figs, fresh fruit custards fetch water and more.
Muscles generate heat with physical activity which the body dissipates through sweat. Water helps to maintain body temperature. Warmer weather leads to increased water and electrolyte (sodium, potassium) losses in sweat. This imbalance causes muscle cramping and irritability. A reduction in body’s water by a meager 1-2 % can liquidate concentration, cognition, performance compelling one to renounce activity while severe dehydration causes nausea, vomiting, confusion and fainting. Adequate hydration with 2 to 3 glasses of water, 1 to 2 hours before an outdoor activity and a glass every 10 to 15 minutes in-between ensures stability. Diluted fruit juice with 50 % water can also double up to energize with nutrients, electrolytes and hydrate when outdoors. Athletes should pay special heed to water intake and consume sports drink only if the activity stretches beyond 1 hour.
Alcohol and caffeinated beverages- coffee and colas are diuretics that steal the body of water. Excess intake of fruit juices, sugary beverages and salty snacks has a similar spongy impact absorbing the body’s aqua. Energy drinks are steeped in stimulants and the caffeine can be counterproductive.
Adequate hydration permits our kidneys to regulate water - salt balance and excrete clear or pale colored urine every 2 to 4 hours. The urine color is more accurate and invaluable guide to indicate hydration. Excessive sweat during strenuous exercise or warm weather abducts water and electrolytes leading to formation of hypertonic urine which is concentrated and darker yellow or orange in color, a tell-tale warning of depleting water in the body. Weighing a kilogram lesser after a visit to the restroom early morning superimposes immediate water intake.