How To

The US National Academies’ Food and Nutrition Board tells us that adult males should consume 3.7 liters and adult females, 2.7 liters of fluid every day.  80% of this should come from water and other beverages (such as tea, coffee and juice ) and 20% from the food we eat. The reality is, however, that there is no ‘one size fits all’ rule. Our proper hydration requirements vary tremendously, according to individual factors such as age, weight, sex and level of activity, and external factors such as temperature and humidity levels (with those exercising rigorously or living in hot climates needing to consume more than the average amount).

Hydration tip: An efficient way of ensuring you’re well-hydrated is to check the color of your urine. It should be pale-yellow in color. The darker the urine, the less hydrated you are.

Hydrating drinks to work into your diet

Water should be our first choice when it comes to basic hydration. It makes sense. It’s cheap and calorie-free, and instantly available from the tap. But my, oh my, it can be dull! So when you want a little more flavor, raw fruits and vegetables with high water content make a healthy, effective and delicious alternative for active people looking for hydrating drinks. Freshly juiced or in a salad, these provide proper hydration as well as carbohydrates, vitamins and important minerals such as potassium and sodium.

Hydration tip: Carry water or another hydrating drink in a pack bladder or hydration belt during hikes, training or events to maintain hydration levels throughout the day.

When it comes to replacing fluids during or after longer periods of exercise, or in extreme heat or humidity, it’s important to remember that water alone is not enough. Your sweat is made up of electrolytes; sodium, potassium, chloride and magnesium. These are vital for your body to function properly.  During and after intensive exercise, you’ll need to replenish both the fluid and the electrolytes you’ve lost through sweat with a rehydration drink. A commercial sports drink will do the job, but these are not only expensive, they’re also often sickly-sweet and packed with sugar and additives.

Hydration tip: Mix your own isotonic sports drink by diluting 8 fl. oz of your favorite fruit juice with 8 fl. oz cold water and a pinch of salt. This will provide carbohydrates for energy as well as necessary electrolytes. Experiment with flavors and quantities to suit your personal taste.

Recipes for the best hydration/rehydration drinks

So are you ready to get creative? Dig out that blender and whip up some of your favorite fruits to create your own hydrating drink cocktail, or try these for starters:

Strawberry Shaker

Boost your hydration with this shake, packed with phytochemicals  and vitamin C.

Smoothies 4

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Tomato Chili Zinger

This high-water content juice is packed with vitamins and minerals.

Tomato chilli zinger

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Method for both shakes:

1.   Blend all the ingredients in a blender.

2.   Serve in two long glasses.

Hydration tip: Start hydrating at least 16 hours before your event and try to maintain hydration levels until you go to sleep. You might need to make a few late-night bathroom breaks, and continue hydrating in the morning, but you’ll be in a better place than if you wait.
Photo: denio109/

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