Hydration is a commonly overlooked and undervalued aspect of nutrition, which is ironic considering our bodies are comprised of mostly fluids! Many believe that food is the key to good nutrition and while this holds truth, keeping yourself hydrated is arguably equally important to your overall health, especially for adults. As we age, our bodies lose water. As babies our bodies are made up of approximately 75% water, and as we age this amount decreases all the way to 50% when we enter elderly years. It’s a fact - proper hydration is a major key to overall wellness!
During the holy month when your body is in a fasted state, you naturally lose nutrients and electrolytes throughout the day which can cause you to feel thirsty and lethargic. Particularly during this time, the types of liquids you drink during Suhoor or Iftar are extremely important for healthy cells and normal functioning of your body’s necessary processes. It’s important to choose nutritious fluids when you break your fast, to replenish your system and give it adequate amounts of nutrients to stay healthy and to prepare the body for upcoming fasting days, i.e., drinks that are low in sugar and caffeine, and contain hydrating properties such as electrolytes.
When thinking about hydration, you want to focus on electrolyte replenishing. Electrolytes are minerals in your body that have an electric charge. They are in your blood, urine, tissues, and other body fluids. Electrolytes are important because they help balance the amount of water in your body, move nutrients into your cells, move wastes out of your cells and ensures that your nerves, muscles, heart, and brain work the way they should.
Here are a few hydration tips that you can include once you break your fast:
-Make natural electrolytes. Squeeze half a lemon and/or add a pinch of sea salt. The combination of lemon and sea salt helps the body generate energy and replenishes your system for quick hydration.
-Try and buy water that comes from natural springs rather than bottled water from a plant. The minerals from spring water contain calcium, magnesium, and potassium, all of which promote blood circulation. Mineral water may be a bit more expensive but, your body will thank you for it!
-Stock up on coconut water. Coconut water is a great source of electrolytes, filled with good sugars and can revitalize the body quickly. If it’s too sweet for you, dilute the coconut water with natural water to dull down the sweetness.
-Get creative! Cut fresh fruits and put them in your water bottle, this will add an extra kick to your drink. The vitamins from fruits will provide you with a sweeter beverage to enjoy without the empty calories.
-Enjoy less nutritious drinks with family and friends so long as you’ve hydrated your body with the good stuff, first!
-The general rule of thumb is to drink 6-8 glasses of water a day for adults but that depends on a few factors such as activity level and gender. Aim to drink at least 6 glasses and more if your activity levels are higher.
-Drink small sips once you break your fast and throughout the evening so as not to shock your system and make your stomach feel uneasy.
Hydration is crucial, so always make sure to refuel with nutritious beverages and lots of water to maintain a healthy body and normal cell functions, especially as the temperature rises!