A Better way to hydrate

Fix Your Plate | Tara Reeves

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Drinking water all day long is probably the most common way of staying hydrated and healthy. And it’s not a bad one to follow! But while it’s a good rule of thumb, drinking water all day long may not actually be the best way to keep yourself hydrated.

In fact, drinking too much water can cause issues like hyponatremia, which is when your body has diluted its sodium levels to the point of being dangerous. Water intoxication is also a real thing—it can make you disoriented, confused and even more dehydrated than before you drank all that extra H2O. And if you’re exercising or working outside in hot weather, you’ll already be losing a lot of fluids through sweat that would otherwise count towards your daily liquid intake.

So what should you do? You might be surprised to learn that most people already get enough water in their daily diets, and drinking more won’t improve your health or actually provide your body with the hydration that it needs.

You may have heard that you should drink eight glasses of water a day. That’s the commonly accepted amount of H2O … but is it accurate? Well, yes and no. Let me explain.

A better and more efficient way to hydrate is to increase your intake of healthy foods that contain a high water content, minerals and the electrolytes that your body requires, such as calcium, potassium, chloride, phosphate and magnesium. These electrolytes are minerals in the body that have a variety of functions, one of which is fluid balance.

Plain water does not contain electrolytes, but foods and other drinks oftentimes do. That’s why it’s important to make sure you include food sources of these minerals, along with plenty of fresh water to stay balanced and hydrated throughout the day. 

So, what are the best foods to consume to ensure that you are properly hydrated and getting a good dose of the minerals that your body requires?

Foods such as watermelon, tomatoes, cucumber, celery, apples and kidney beans (seems odd, but beans have a high water content) are not only hydrating but these foods also contain fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that your body requires. And in my personal opinion, they taste much better than just plain water.

Coconut water is usually my go-to for a healthy dose of hydration. Not only does it taste great but it is packed with natural electrolytes, antioxidants and although more research is needed, studies have shown that coconut water may help balance blood sugar and may help reduce heart disease risk. Just be mindful that your coconut water does not contain any added sugar.

So, while water is required for our health and wellbeing, the best way to stay hydrated, especially through the hot summer months, is to up your intake of nourishing fruits and vegetables and have some fun while sipping from a fresh coconut, whenever possible!

Fix Your PlateTara Reeves
Tara Reeves

Tara Reeves is a classically trained Chef and Holistic Nutritionist. A graduate from the Culinary Institute of Canada, she teaches people who want to transition to a plant-based lifestyle how to plan and prepare flavourful, nutritious, plant-based meals that keep them feeling full & satisfied. Tara is the co-founder and editor of The Black Media Collective—PEI’s first and only Black media outlet—and can also be found spinning records as DJ Jane Blaze.