It enhances our quality of sleep which, in turn, increases energy levels and, ultimately, physical activity. It also makes us more – you know – regular, helping food move through the digestive tract more efficiently.
We’re generally less aware of the way hydration can positively affect our mental health and emotional well-being. Our brains are made up of approximately 75% water, so it makes sense that not drinking enough can negatively impact our mental health. Adequate hydration improves our cognitive performance and mental clarity, enabling us to focus better in our daily lives, and it helps keep our anxiety levels in check – something we all can use. If you’re well-hydrated, you’re more likely to be alert and motivated, have less brain fog, and feel calmer and less depressed. On the other hand if you need a drink, you’ll tend to be crankier (, experience more tension, feel fatigued or aggressive and even experience lower self-esteem.
With all that in mind, the question becomes, how do you get hydrated – and stay that way?
How Much Water Should You Drink?
Believe it or not this question has been the subject of debate for years. I recommend the old-fashioned 8 x 8 rule: 8 ounces of water eight times per day (totaling 64 ounces). It is a good rule of thumb – it’s easy to remember, and will provide an adequate level of hydration for most people.
But that being said, every individual has different hydration needs. Consult with your doctor before embarking upon any significant changes to your consumption habits. This is particularly true for individuals with metabolic or renal conditions, or anyone over the age of 50.
5 Ideas to Help You Hydrate
Sipping ice-cold water throughout the day, especially during the winter, can be a real challenge in the Northeast. So if you’re struggling to stay hydrated, we understand. That’s why we’ve put together some strategies to help you meet your hydration goals.
Drinks to Limit or Avoid
As we just discussed, there are so many amazing fluids and foods that will not only hydrate us but are nutritious for us. There are plenty of products sold that, let’s just say, are best avoided. This list may not come as a surprise to you. Please limit – or even better, avoid – the following drinks: sugar-laden coffee drinks, sweet tea, soda, diet soda, juice with added sugars, and alcoholic beverages (these are dehydrating).
Recipe: Lemon Ginger Green Tea
This is a great recipe to try during the winter. Lemon is rich in vitamin C. People who have low vitamin C levels may feel tired and depressed. Additionally, ginger and green tea have been shown to help with depression.
BIO: Stephanie Feldman is a registered dietitian and certified health and wellness coach. Stephanie uses her education, training, and life experiences to design individualized programs that focus on a balanced diet, adequate hydration, physical activity, sleep, self-care, and more.