As the most important nutrient in our body, it’s vital that we stay hydrated for everything from digestion to headaches to cellular communication through calcium channels.
Here are 9 simple habits that support healthy hydration.
1. Add a pinch of sea salt to your water
Sea salt, like Himalayan Pink Salt or Colima Sea Salt, contains dozens of minerals that iodized salt lacks like the electrolytes calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium that help you better absorb and utilize the water you drink.
Electrolyte powders can also help keep you hydrated (although minerals/electrolytes from nutrient-dense foods are of course best).
Here are two of my favorites:
Learn more about these powders here under Water Replacement.
2. Take sips of water instead of chugs
The body can only process a limited amount of water at a time. You will be able to absorb and utilize the water you drink more efficiently if you take small sips over a longer period of time as opposed to drinking a liter at a time. The most you accomplish with chugging is a successful interruption of whatever you’re doing for an urgent trip (or two or three) to the bathroom.
3. Drink room temperature, body temperature, or warm water
Cold water sure feels refreshing, but when you think about it, drinking ice cold water is pretty unnatural. It causes blood vessels to constrict affecting the function of many organs and systems, and actually slows down hydration. Read more here.
4. Drink most water away from meals
Sipping a little water with meals is generally fine, but consuming most of your water between meals prevents diluting stomach acid, which negatively impacts digestion (like contribute to heartburn and incomplete/improper digestion of food). Thoroughly chewing each bite will help provide most of the lubrication needed throughout the meal.
5. Don’t drink too much water
Sounds straightforward, but consuming too much water can be just as problematic as not getting enough water. Too much water dilutes the minerals you currently have and can create a deficiency. As a general rule, try to follow your thirst, but avoid drinking more than 1 gallon (3.8 liters) per day.
Need to know how much water you need in a day? Calculate your daily water needs here.
6. Carry a water bottle with you
Having water easily accessible makes it easier to keep up with your water intake. It also saves time and eliminates the search for water or the impulse to ignore thirst. Stainless steel or glass bottles are safe drinking materials. Avoid aluminum/plastic water bottles that can leach toxins into your water like BPA–especially if they have been stored or exposed to the heat or sun.
We like to use Clean Canteen or these 1 quart glass bottles from Dairy Shoppe on Amazon. The lids stay on pretty well and they’re pretty sturdy for tempered glass. They work out to be around $5 each.
7. Drink clean water
Get your water from clean, reliable sources and use a good water filter system for tap water, water that you drink, cook, or bathe in.
It’s a good idea to do your own water testing for pH level, contaminants, and minerals to see if your water is safe to drink or will worsen hydration.
Here’s a few other resources to get your started:
- The CDC: Check Your Water’s Fluoride Level
- The Health Risk of Drinking Demineralized Water by the WHO
- How Safe Is Your Water? – This resource is provided by Berkey Water Filters. It’s a solid system, but water needs to be the right pH for it to filter properly.
- This is an awesome article about Berkey and other water filters by Adrienne @ Whole New Mom
- Fine Waters is a great resource for bottled waters
8. Avoid distilled water or purified waters
Water is meant to carry nutrients like minerals/electrolytes. When water are stripped of nutrients, water will “pull” nutrients from your tissues, which can cause mineral imbalances + deficiencies and worsen hydration.
9. Avoid Diuretics
Diuretics like caffeinated/sugary drinks + some medications increase water loss. If you drink diuretics, be sure to replace them with 1.5x the amount of water. Electrolyte replacement may also be needed to avoid mineral deficiencies (see Habit #1).
Here’s a list of common diuretics that cause you to lose water including, but are not limited to:
- Caffeinated drinks
- Black/green/white tea
- Energy drinks
- Kombucha, etc.
- Sugar containing drinks
- Fruit juices
- Sweet tea
- Sports drinks like Gatorade/Powerade (I know, right??)
- Diuretic medications
- Hydrochlorothiazide, etc.
You might be thinking: “Give up my coffee/soda/Redbull/alcohol?? No way!”
Hey, I get it. I used to drink 2 cans of Starbucks double-shot espressos every Monday/Wednesday/Friday before class in college. I needed it.
Or at least I thought I needed it, but really, I needed to make some lifestyle changes so that I no longer had to depend on a substance…which really meant that I needed to examine why I needed to rely on it in the first place–and that’s really what Nerd Out Nutrition is all about: getting to the root cause.
If you want to learn more about going deeper, click here.
Now you’ve got 9 ways to stay healthily hydrated! Not sure if you’re getting enough water on a daily basis? Find out here.
Have any useful tips that keep you consistently hydrated? Let me know down below!
Want to make better food choices?
Hi, I’m Melissa!
I’m a holistic nutritionist dedicated to helping people make better food choices easy so they can find + meet the right health goals for their bodies and feel like themselves again.