How to keep hydrated without drinking
It might sound obvious, but most of us don’t do it. I’m talking about keeping hydrated. When we look out of the window during the summer months and see droopy, dry plants, we often rush out to tend to them and spend ages watering the garden, the baskets and the pots, hoping we haven’t left it too long and that they will spring back into life again. But most of us do not spend enough time or effort making sure WE are well watered. And just like a garden and all the plants in it that need water to grow and function optimally, we do too. Although we may not become so visibly dehydrated from the outside like plants do, just because we are not drooping over and shrivelled up, does not mean we are well watered!!
With water making up two thirds of the human body, and being essential to all life, it is no wonder that water is often referred to as life’s elixir (and no, life’s elixir is not wine, despite what some people may think!!). Water therefore has some extremely important functions in the body and is vital for keeping us healthy, fit and functioning efficiently. To put this into perspective, water helps the body to remove waste and aid digestion, regulates our temperature, cushions and lubricates joints, protects our sensitive tissues and ensures optimal brain function. Needless to say, suffering from dehydration, even a small amount, throws our body out of balance. Tiredness and fatigue, which are common in today’s modern world, can be one sign of dehydration, along with brain fog, dizziness, headaches, dry eyes and lips and strong, dark coloured urine.
During the summer months when the weather is warm and sunny (or meant to be), it is even more important to keep hydrated, as our body loses more water in the heat. If we are not replacing that lost water at the same rate it is being lost, dehydration can occur quickly, with the elderly and young children most at risk.
So apart from drinking multiple glasses of water a day, what’s the best way to keep our water levels up?
Eat your water
One way is to consciously eat specific foods that contain a high water content. This is especially helpful for people who struggle to drink and generally consider themselves as ‘thirstless people’, as they can eat a lot of their water as opposed to drinking it all, which some people will find easier to do.
Cucumber, lettuce and tomatoes are three of the top water filled foods, each containing 95% water as well as some good vitamins and minerals too. The clue’s in the name with the next two water filled foods, watermelon and watercress, with each of these containing about 93% water. They are also both foods that are packed full of antioxidants and other nutrients shown to help reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Celery, courgettes, peaches, oranges and peppers also have water contents ranging between 85-93%, so make good additions when it comes to foods to add to your hydrating menu.
Don’t forget your milk
We may not think we are consuming water when we drink milk, but we actually are. Milk, on average, has a water content of about 85-90%, so milk, including Delamere Dairy’s goats’ milk, is a good hydrating fluid and of course is packed full of healthy nutrients such as calcium, magnesium and phosphorus, as well as being an excellent source of protein. Milk is actually one of the most concentrated sources of calcium that there is, and although it’s important for building strong bones, teeth and correct nerve function in all age groups, it is especially important in children, the elderly and menopausal women.
Yogurt is also important as a hydrating food, because it contains about 75% water. On those hot summer days if you want an additional cooling effect, why not freeze your yogurt in ice lolly moulds and eat straight from the freezer to both hydrate and cool you down. Delamere Dairy’s honey goats’ yogurt can be used in this way and is delicious on its own, or with the plain variety why not add some additional pureed fruit to it and then freeze as lollies. The children (and adults) will love it and you are sneakily getting them to eat one of their five a day without them knowing it, as well as keeping them hydrated, so it’s a win win!
Did someone say Soup?
Soup may be an odd recommendation for the summer months, as most people associate a warm bowl of soup with the autumn and winter time, but soup is another good way of getting your water content, and who says you have to eat it hot! Gazpacho, or cold soup, is a delicious alternative to those winter warming soups and can be very refreshing, as well as hydrating, on a warm summer day. Not only does soup or Gazpacho contain stock, which of course is water, but it can also be made using the vegetables named above with the high water content, especially tomatoes and peppers, with Gazpacho often containing cucumber too.
Now, not all ice lollies have to be made with Delamere Dairy’s goats’ yogurt (although I highly recommend it), they can be made with fresh fruit and herbal and fruit teas too. You can of course make them with fresh fruit juice as well, but the sugar content will be higher in these, which may be a consideration if you are watching yours or your children’s sugar intake. Ice lollies are another good way or getting a good water intake without having to drink, and they do have an added cooling effect without having to stick your head in the freezer. There are so many great online recipes to choose from, but using soft berries like raspberries or strawberries and then the same flavoured tea, left to cool, all mixed together and frozen make an easy, tasty and healthy water filled snack. You can always add a bit of maple syrup if you want an extra zap of sweetness and, (in moderation), will also help your digestive health as maple syrup contains Inulin, a natural fibre that is beneficial for gut health.
Keeping hydrated should not be chore and hopefully the above will provide a little more inspiration and fun to the task at hand. Remember that children and the elderly may need a little extra reminder, especially during the summer months, to keep their water levels up, and I’m sure some extra ice lollies will not receive complaints. So remember, when you are watering the garden, water yourself too!
- Water, Hydration & Health, 2010. Nutrition Reviews
- Hydration & Disease, 2007. Journal of the American College of Nutrition
- Hydration & Health: A Review, 2010. Nutrition Bulletin
- Hydration & Health, 2019. Analysis in Nutrition Research