Keeping yourself hydrated is important. This is especially critical this time of year because people are prone to heat-related illness, such as heat stroke and heat exhaustion.
There is a great book written on this topic called Your Body’s Many Cries for Water where the authors explain how many of us have a suppressed thirst mechanism, which causes us to not feel thirsty until our body is already extremely dehydrated. Often people will find that they have not perceived any signs that they need water until they experience a headache, again a sign that the body is in severe need of hydration.
When I went to a naturopathic doctor for the very first time, part of my treatment plan was to only drink water for an entire month. I thought it was going to be terrible at first, and truth be told, it was very challenging. At the time in my life, I was drinking a lot of coffee. It was a really interesting experience, however, because I found that the more I drank water, the more thirsty I became. I remember feeling as though I couldn’t get enough water. Now I understand that this was an exercise that displayed how suppressed my thirst mechanism actually was. The point is – we all need to drink much more water than we realize.
In addition to consuming enough water, there are several other types of food and drink that we can consume to keep our bodies hydrated. Before I get into the lists below, I’d like to call out one in particular that is plentiful this time of year – watermelon. People say there is no nutritional value in watermelon, but it’s actually very hydrating (it is watermelon, after all!) and it’s good source of fiber. Watermelon is also a great yin tonic and acts as a natural diuretic. In Chinese medicine, when you get a yin deficiency, there is too much heat in the body due to a variety of reasons. People are prone to this in the summer, so it’s really important to stay hydrated and consume yin nourishing foods. Watermelon is a really great yin nourishing food. Let’s explore a few others!
Foods to Help You Hydrate
- Cantaloupe and melons
- Iceberg lettuce
- Star fruit
Some health practitioners recommend putting ½ teaspoon of sea salt in your water. This can be really good for people that have trouble rehydrating because it helps the water get into the cells.
Drinks that Help you Hydrate
- Water with ½ teaspoon of sea salt
- Smart water or electrolyte water (but limit these due to the plastic bottles that they are packaged in. Chemicals from plastic can contribute to estrogen dominance and other hormone issues, which are rampant in today society.)
- Coconut water
- Herbal teas
Stay away from Gatorade or other commercial sports drinks. They often contain ingredients like dyes, high-fructose corn syrup, citric acid, monopotassium phosphate and harmful chemicals. Also, be sure to drink filtered water or spring water out of glass to avoid the estrogen dominance and hormone issues that can result from the chemicals in plastic containers.
Stay cool and stay hydrated!