Our bodies are about 60 percent water. Blood is mostly water; our organs contain lots of water; water also carries oxygen to our cells, flushes waste, and regulates body temperature. Thirsty yet?
As a matter of fact, if you feel thirsty you're already dehydrated. The trick is to keep yourself hydrated so that you never actually feel thirsty. Even mild dehydration can cause aches and pains, constipation, and headaches. If you're not sure how much water you should drink in a day, try this handy dandy hydration calculator.
So, how to stay well-hydrated? Drinking water is a good start: it's free and has no calories. If you don't care for plain water -- a lot of pregnant women, in particular, have trouble with it during the first trimester when they're nauseated -- try flavoring your water with low-calorie additions like fruit or herbs. (We have lots of fun ideas in our Homemade Flavored Waters post.) Keep fresh water handy, so you're constantly reminded to take a sip!
You'll get a lot of water through your food. Fruits and vegetables are chock full of the good stuff: an apple is 84 percent water and broccoli is an astounding 91 percent water! Check out this cool table to find more of your favorites.
Let's not forget about soups; they also have the benefit of providing some sodium, which will help balance electrolytes. Of course, you don't want to overload on the sodium; if you're buying a prepared broth or soup, opt for the low-sodium version. Try having a cup of low-calorie soup before a meal; the water-rich starter will help fill your belly so you consume fewer overall calories when the entree comes.
|Asparagus and Pea soup|
Coffee and tea count, too; if you drink five to seven cups a day, though, caffeinated drinks can have a diuretic effect, which will work to expel water from your body.
Can fruit juice and even soda hydrate you? Yes. However, unless you're looking to add more sugar (and artificial colors and flavors) to your diet, try not to drink your calories.
|Enjoying a Cara Cara orange.|
Important note: if you're feeling peckish, you might actually just be thirsty. Try drinking some water and then decide if you really need a snack.
What's your favorite way to stay hydrated?
New to the Seven-Day Self-Care Challenge? Check out our previous posts:
Self-Care Challenge - Make Yourself a Top Priority
Day One - 50+ Ways to Start Taking Care of Yourself
Day Two - A Restorative Yoga Pose for Everyone
Day Three - Move Your Body!
Day Four - 101 Ways to Cut Yourself Some Slack!
Day Five - Take a Deep Breath
Day Seven - 10 Tips for New, Breastfeeding Mamas