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ALL ABOUT YOUR HYDRATION

Hydrating fruits by Kassandra Hobart, FNTP

Your Water Source Is Important | Tap, Well, or Distilled water


Water is made up of 3 molecules: 2 hydrogen and 1 oxygen. This seems simple, so shouldn’t all water be the same? Tap water, well water, distilled water… what’s the difference? The water we drink can come from many different sources and not all sources are created equal. Here’s the breakdown on each.


The source quality is highly dependent on the region you live in. Tap water supplies are piped in to you. Tap water carries impurities such as lead, mercury, and bisphenol A (BPA). It’s not all bad though. Most tap water contains magnesium and fluoride too, which have great benefits to the body.


Now, what about well water? It’s drawn from a pump that has access to underground aquifers. Though contaminations are less likely than surface water, it is still possible to have elements including uranium, radon, arsenic in well water. You will most likely find an abundance of calcium and magnesium in well water too. These two minerals are electrolytes that assist in numerous processes through the body. Having calcium and magnesium in your water supply supports your body’s hydration, which we’ll talk more about in a moment.


The one you may have heard of most frequently is distilled water. It is chemically purified water. Impurities are removed by one or more processes of distillation, where water is boiled to the point of no contaminants. At first glance, you may think distilled water is the best option...but let's take a deeper dive. Distilled water removes close to everything in it, which definitely gets rid of the harmful substances, but also strips water of its most valuable elements too. Water carries the minerals calcium, chloride, magnesium, potassium and sodium. These minerals, also named electrolytes, are key to both mental and physical performance. Minerals take part in many processes in the body like digestion, circulation, energy production, and elimination.


So, which source is the best? It really depends on your region and local supply. Learning more about your available sources can help you make the right decision for your hydration. You do want to avoid as many contaminants as you can while keeping as many naturally occurring minerals as you can. This will vary from region to region.


Tip: You can search in Google your town name followed by “water CCR” to learn about your current local water report.

Electrolytes


Proper hydration depends on not just water but electrolytes too. Electrolytes are minerals that become capable of conducting electricity when dissolved in water. Sodium, potassium, calcium, bicarbonate, magnesium, chloride, and phosphate are all electrolytes. The electrolytes control the osmosis of water between fluid compartments, help the body’s pH balance, carry electrical current, and serve as cofactors for enzymes. Ideally, you want drinking water to have these naturally occurring minerals, but you can also consume them from fruits and vegetables. Some of our favorite fruits and vegetables help with electrolyte balance, including:


Hydrating fruits and vegetables by Kassandra Hobart, FNTP

Have you ever felt thirsty after drinking water all day? This may be a sign that you need to balance the water with more electrolytes. Now that we know the water source can affect mineral balance in the water supply, and these minerals are a necessity for proper water absorption, staying hydrated is more than just drinking water. You need electrolytes too. To increase your electrolytes right now, you can add fruits, like watermelon or oranges, to your next meal or try supplementing with a powdered electrolyte form like Ultima Replenishers or NUUN.


How You Hydrate Matters


The best way to stay hydrated while avoiding extra bathroom breaks is to sip on 8-12 oz water glasses early in the morning until mid evening.

  1. Wake up and start your day with 2 glasses of water. Keep the glasses next to your bed to help spark the new habit.

  2. In between meals, continuously sip on water, while being mindful of the electrolyte balance we just talked about. You may want to add an electrolyte supplement, depending on your circumstances.

  3. While you eat your snacks and meals, forgo chugging water! It can actually dilute nutrient absorption.

  4. You are better off picking up your water bottle again once you have finished eating.

  5. Then roughly 1-2 hours before bed, taper back on your hydration. This will help you avoid those midnight bathroom breaks.

Not All Fluids Are Created Equal


Hydrating coconut water

Water can get boring from time to time so it’s easy to replace it with other fluids like seltzer water, coffee, tea, and coconut water. These “substitutes” are not all a 1-1 swap for plain water. Let’s take a look at each:


Coffee

Coffee acts as a diuretic: it promotes the formation of urine by the kidneys. Diuretics dehydrate us by causing a loss of water and inhibits the kidney’s ability to reabsorb sodium and chloride. When water should be moving back into the bloodstream, it’s now being excreted. Though coffee is a fluid, it’s not a great alternative to water. Now, this doesn’t mean quit your morning coffee ritual. Instead, add an additional cup or 2 of water to accommodate.


Tip: For every 8 ounces of coffee, add an additional 12 ounces of regular water to your daily hydration goal


Tea

Tea really depends on the form. There are three major forms: green, black and oolong, based on the degree of fermentation. Polyphenols are the major active compounds present in teas, which studies show are beneficial against chronic disease. Tea varies in caffeination too. Caffeinated tea acts as diuretic, like coffee, while herbal teas such as hibiscus, rose, or chamomile, are naturally caffeine-free and hydrating. Know what type of tea you’re drinking to understand if it’s working for your hydration or against it.


Tip: Know what form of tea you drink. Keep caffeinated tea to 1-2 cups a day. Naturally caffeine-free tea is hydrating.


Sparkling water

Sparkling water in its simplest form is carbonated water. It’s mildly acidic compared to regular water on the pH scale. Studies on flavoured and plain seltzer water are far and few between, but what we can gather is that aside from being mildly more acidic than plain water, sparkling water is a great substitute in moderation.


Tip: Swap out regular water for 12 ounce seltzer 1-2 times a day.


Coconut water

Coconut water is another great alternative to water in moderation. It’s full of electrolytes, great for post workout replenishment, and tastes sweet too. The original, no sugar added, form is packed with minerals and breaks up the taste of regular water. The mineral density along with natural sugars make it a great post workout liquid carbohydrate as well.


Tip: Swap in 8-12 ounces coconut water in place of plain water for post workout carb shake.


How You Hydrate Matters | Final Thoughts

  • Water has naturally occurring minerals in it that benefit us - don’t filter those out!

  • Staying hydrated is more than just drinking water; you need electrolytes too.

  • Sodium, potassium, calcium, bicarbonate, magnesium, chloride, and phosphate are all electrolytes.

  • The best way to stay hydrated while avoiding extra bathroom breaks is to sip on 8-12 oz water glasses early in the morning until mid evening.

  • Just because it’s liquid doesn’t mean it’ll hydrate you. Pay attention to your fluid sources.


References:

Nutritional Therapy Association. (2019). Basics of Nutrition Student Guide. The Basics of Nutrition. Retrieved from https://nta.brightspace.com/d2l/le/content/10063/Home.


Kirschner, C. (2017, October 9). What's the difference between distilled water, spring water and purified water? Retrieved from https://www.mnn.com/your-home/at-home/questions/whats-the-difference-between-distilled-water-spring-water-and-purified


Barry M Popkin, Kristen E D'Anci, Irwin H Rosenberg, Water, hydration, and health, Nutrition Reviews, Volume 68, Issue 8, 1 August 2010, Pages 439–458, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1753-4887.2010.00304.x


“Get the Facts: Drinking Water and Intake.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 9 Aug. 2016, www.cdc.gov/nutrition/data-statistics/plain-water-the-healthier-choice.html.


Popkin, Barry M, et al. “Water, Hydration, and Health.” Nutrition Reviews, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Aug. 2010, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908954/.


Killer, Sophie C., et al. “No Evidence of Dehydration with Moderate Daily Coffee Intake: A Counterbalanced Cross-Over Study in a Free-Living Population.” PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0084154.


Wakisaka S, Nagai H, Mura E, Matsumoto T, Moritani T, Nagai N. The effects of carbonated water upon gastric and cardiac activities and fullness in healthy young women. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2012;58(5):333-8. doi: 10.3177/jnsv.58.333. PMID: 23327968.


Kalman DS, Feldman S, Krieger DR, Bloomer RJ. Comparison of coconut water and a carbohydrate-electrolyte sport drink on measures of hydration and physical performance in exercise-trained men. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2012 Jan 18;9(1):1. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-9-1. PMID: 22257640; PMCID: PMC3293068.


Khan N, Mukhtar H. Tea Polyphenols in Promotion of Human Health. Nutrients. 2018 Dec 25;11(1):39. doi: 10.3390/nu11010039. PMID: 30585192; PMCID: PMC6356332.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

When you focus on nutrition, the first thing you'll see is an increase in energy and cognitive sharpness, leading to a more productive day.

KASSANDRA-HOBART-NTP

KASSANDRA HOBART

FUNCTIONAL NUTRITION THERAPY PRACTITIONER

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