Staying hydrated is important for overall health – and it is especially important to stay hydrated during the hotter summer months. But what if you just can’t stand to drink plain water?

While I am in the camp who believes there is nothing quite as refreshing as a glass of cold water, there are certainly those who disagree with me. Fortunately, there are other ways to stay hydrated if you don’t like plain old water.

1. Try “eating” your water

There are plenty of foods that can help with your daily hydration needs. A few of the most hydrating foods1 – based on percentage water content – include:

  • 90-99%:  cucumbers, cantaloupe watermelon, lettuce, tomato, cabbage, celery, nonfat milk, spinach, summer squash/zucchini   
  • 80-89%:  yogurt, apples, grapes, oranges, carrots, broccoli (cooked),
  • 70-79%:  bananas, avocados, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, potato (baked), corn (cooked), shrimp
  • 60-69%: legumes, salmon, ice cream, chicken breast, pasta

When it comes to trying to include more of these hydration-friendly foods, here are two strategies: First, always include veggies on your plate. As you can see, fresh vegetables like cabbage, celery, and cucumbers are packed with water and are an easy way to help you maintain your hydration needs.

Second, drop the starch-heavy pasta and substitute with zucchini noodles (which are about 95% water). Add a little pasta sauce or olive oil and you will have a healthier and more hydrating meal.   

2. Flavor your water

If for whatever reason you just don’t like the taste of water, why not try flavored water? Zero or low-calorie sparkling water, brands like Bubly, La Croix, and Spindrift, come in a variety of flavors and can help meet hydration needs. When choosing a brand of sparkling water, be certain it has zero sugar or zero artificial sweeteners.

Another option is to infuse flavor into your own water. Here’s how:

  • Slice up a fruit or vegetable of your choice, such as watermelon, lemon, or cucumber.
  • Soak the fruit or vegetable slices overnight in a large pitcher of water – in the refrigerator if you want to.

An alternative to infusing drinking water with fruit or vegetable slices is to infuse ice cubes. Dice up small pieces of your chosen fruit or vegetable, place the pieces in an ice cube tray with water and freeze overnight. Serve with a glass of water, and as the ice cubes melt, they will add subtle flavor to your water.

3. Hydrate with other options 

Water will always be the best option for hydration. But there are other liquids that can help with daily hydration needs. Nonfat milk is a good option because it typically has a water content above 90%. Fruit smoothies can be a healthy choice, as long as you watch the sugar content.

Coconut water is another healthy solution for hydration – but choose the unsweetened version.

Unsweetened coconut water is low in carbohydrates and fat, but rich in nutrients like potassium and magnesium. While it won’t hydrate you as well as water, it can be a good low-calorie/low-carb option for hydration. Coconut water is about 94% water, but shouldn’t be mistaken for coconut milk, which is only about 50% water.

Are sports drinks a practical alternative to water? 

Some individuals might choose a sports drink for hydration instead of water. But while traditional sports drinks are marketed as hydration solutions, they tend to come loaded with sugar. A typical bottle of Gatorade, for example, contains 14 grams of sugar. Food and drinks with higher sugar content can actually lead to higher rates of water loss.

So, is there an alternative to traditional sports drinks that can help with hydration? Thorne’s Catalyte® is a low-sugar, low-calorie electrolyte replacement supplement formulated with a typical ratio of the electrolytes found in sweat.

Catalyte’s blend of potassium, calcium, magnesium, and zinc replaces the primary electrolytes and other minerals lost in sweat, while also helping your muscles to repair and rebuild.*

In addition to electrolytes, Catalyte contains the water-soluble vitamin C and B vitamins typically lost in sweat, along with D-ribose to help decrease lactic acid buildup in the muscles.*

The lemon-lime flavored powder is designed to allow you to add it to your choice of hydration beverage and avoid unnecessary sugars. You can also mix the Catalyte as you would if you were preparing to drink it, but then pour it into an ice cube tray or popsicle mold and freeze. Yum! Three 3-ounce popsicles are equivalent to one serving of Catalyte.


Reference

  1. Popkin B, D’Anci K, Rosenberg I. Water, hydration and health. Nutrition 2010;68(8):439-458.