Anyone who spends several hours a day on the road knows the challenges of staying hydrated while driving. Dehydration leads to muscle cramps, mental fatigue, overheating and kidney stones. Yet many drivers limit how much they drink to avoid restroom breaks.
So, how do you ensure you are drinking enough water to stay hydrated - especially if you don’t like drinking water?
Here are a few suggestions for satisfying your body’s need for water:
- DO try eating foods with high water content. Foods such as watermelon, cantaloupe, celery, and cucumbers are more than 90% water. These foods hydrate your body and help you feel full so you are less likely to snack on unhealthy foods. This tip is also helpful if you are trying to lose weight.
- DO add fruit. If you don't like the taste of water, add fresh fruit. It's a good alternative to flavor packets, which contain lots of sugar and can add 15-50 calories per use. A splash of fresh fruit, such as a lemon wedge, gives water a refreshing taste and helps hide any chemical taste sometimes found in tap water. Try one of these refreshing Water Infusion recipes.
- DO try a sparkling water. For those who love soda, sparkling water may be the way to go. It has all the health benefits of still water, but with the carbonation found in soda. If you need the flavor jolt provided by soda, try a flavored sparkling water to get your water intake up.
What NOT to do:
- DON’T substitute sugary sodas or juices for water. Hidden calories in sugary drinks contribute significantly to obesity. Consuming too much can lead to empty calories in your diet that work against many other health goals such as weight loss and preventing heart disease. While they may taste good, those drinks could be doing more harm than good to your overall health.
- DON’T rely on sports or energy drinks for hydration. Sports drinks usually contain about two-thirds of the sugar found in soda. While these drinks provide a quick energy surge, it's followed by a crash as the body tries to offset the effects of the extra sugar in your bloodstream. The same electrolytes provided by high-calorie sports drinks can be found in the zero-calorie alternatives or a more natural option such as coconut water.
- DON’T overdo it with the caffeine. Although no studies exist linking caffeine directly to dehydration, many researchers believe a correlation exists. A good rule of thumb is to drink caffeinated beverages in moderation and don't use caffeinated drinks to keep hydrated.
Staying hydrated is essential to maintaining the body’s optimal health and preventing long-term illness. Making some simple changes and trying creative ideas for increasing water intake can significantly improve the body’s function and overall well-being.
The information provided above is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.