Written By: Karla Tafra
Staying hydrated throughout the day should be one of the most important items on your everyday to-do list. And although you’re probably aware that water is the best choice of beverage, you might be wondering what else can you fill your water bottle with that will have the same effect.
We get it, water can sometimes become pretty boring and plain, and that’s why we’ve compiled a list of the best (and some of the worst) drinks you can intake to quench your thirst.
Obviously, plain water still needs to be on this list as it is the number one beverage that will keep you hydrated without adding any other ingredients to the table. Now, that being said, not every water is “created” equally and some might be better than others.
Water is a natural resource coming from our incredible planet, but depending on where you bottle it, it can contain more or less health-boosting minerals. When bottled at the source, your water contains a plethora of trace minerals that naturally occur in the soil and rocks the water flows through. The further from the source, the fewer the number of minerals.
Trace minerals found in water are important for your overall health and well-being as they help optimize your body systems, helping strengthen your immune function, balance out your hormones, maintain healthy pH levels, and even increase your energy production. Trace minerals like magnesium, zinc, phosphate, potassium and iron are involved in almost all processes in the human body and they’re incredibly important for the optimal function of all of your organs, muscles, and tissue.
Many water brands artificially add minerals to their water to increase the overall levels of micronutrients, but since they’re synthetic and not natural, they are known to cause digestive issues in some people who are sensitive. So, when you can, choose naturally mineral-rich water that’s been bottled at the source.
Tea has been one of the most popular beverages for thousands of years. Eastern cultures have been using different forms of tea for a large variety of reasons, from spiritual and holistic to ceremonial. Some of these unique and rare teas are still considered to be extremely valuable and special, with prices climbing up to $600 000 per pound.
Whether you choose green, black, white, or herbal, drinking a cup of tea will definitely help keep you hydrated while adding a variety of powerful antioxidants to the mix. Tea is rich in a variety of different polyphenols which are known to help lower inflammation and fight free radicals and their oxidative damage. This is especially important when your immune system is not working in its optimal way and you need help to prevent infections and diseases.
If all you need is a little bit of a change in taste, squeeze some lemon into your water or make yourself a proper lemonade. Just keep the sugar out of it. Lemons are rich in vitamin C and a variety of antioxidants, they help flush out toxins from your system and prevent kidney stones, and they even help increase your body’s iron absorption.
You might have heard of the “morning lemon water” trend that’s become popular in recent years, and it’s due to its ability to jump start your metabolism and aid in digestion that more and more people seem to get on board with it every single day.
Adding sliced fruit to your water bottle is a great way of keeping your tastebuds surprised and excited about maintaining your daily hydration levels. And by switching up your fruit choices, you can enrich your water with plenty of different vitamins and powerful fruit micronutrients that can further support your health.
Oranges will add more vitamin C, berries will bring a bunch of different antioxidants, and watermelon will enrich your water with citrulline, an important amino acid that may help lower your blood pressure.
The best way to infuse your water is literally by slicing whole fruit and letting it steep in your water bottle. Avoid buying artificially-made extracts and sugary syrups as they’re only adding to overall inflammation and even making you more dehydrated.
Sometimes your body is in need of deeper hydration due to excessive sweating that’s causing precious minerals, specifically salt, to leave your body. That’s why electrolyte-rich drinks were created to help maintain a healthy electrolyte balance within your body. Unfortunately, plenty of these drinks also contain large amounts of sugars and other artificial additives, so even though they’re a good choice when you’re dehydrated, choose brands that are sugar-free and as natural as possible.
Rehydration with healthy electrolytes helps prevent muscle cramps, reduce headaches, improve your overall energy levels and mood, help increase oxygen transportation, and so much more.
Naturally rich in electrolytes, coconut water is an excellent beverage of choice to keep you hydrated during the day. It’s also low in sugar and overall calories, as well as free of fats and cholesterol. Just make sure you’re getting the all-natural kind as there are plenty of coconut waters on the market that contains added sugars, artificial additives, and even high-fructose corn syrup.
An extra bonus: if you can simply crack open a real coconut and drink straight from the source, that would be ideal.
Smoothies are another popular trend that doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon, and for good reason. Depending on the ingredients you use to make it, you can turn your smoothie into a real hydration powerhouse with superfoods that will do wonders for your immune system and overall health.
On the other hand, you can also make a smoothie that will hinder your hydration goals, so don’t just choose the first smoothie recipe that you find on social media. Be smart about the ingredients you’re putting in your smoothie and choose only whole foods that will naturally help hydrate you. These include fruits like oranges, lemons, and watermelon, and vegetables like cucumber, celery, and zucchini. Avoid high-sugar fruits and added sugars, as well as any pre-made fruit extracts.
Drinking bone broth might sound slightly weird and although some people really do drink it straight from their bottle, others ensure to cook with it and add to their daily hydration goals by sipping on a healthy soup.
Whatever way you choose to add bone broth into your diet, you’re doing something extremely beneficial for the health of your digestive system and your gut microbiome. Bone broth is rich in collagen that promotes the health of your skin, joints, cartilage, and even eyesight. It’s also rich in a variety of nutrients and salts, helping you keep electrolytes and your pH at a healthy level.
You can make your own by simply cooking animal bones for a long time (about 24 hours) or you can get the store-bought bone broth. Just make sure the formula is as clean as possible and avoid any artificial ingredients, additives, fillers, and added sugars.
What Not To Drink When Thirsty
In addition to talking about the best possible drink choices to count towards your everyday hydration goals for the day, it’s important to touch on those drinks that you’re best without. These include all artificial sodas and juices, sugary drinks, and of course, fast food milkshakes. Here are three popular beverages many people take daily which can really be harmful to your health, especially if taken in hopes they will quench your thirst.
Coca-Cola (And Other Sodas)
Plenty of people cannot imagine their day without a cup of this brown, sparkly drink, and although it may be delicious in taste, it’s completely made out of artificial ingredients and chemicals, not to mention way too much sugar.
Coca-cola and other similar sodas are known for their potentially harmful effects on your body, from inflammation and digestive disruptions to increasing the risk of obesity. It’s also caffeinated, which furthermore doesn’t help with adequate hydration. And it seems like the sugar-free versions aren’t any better.
Store Bought Juices
Almost all store-bought fruit juices are full of added sugars, mostly due to increasing their shelf life. Have you ever looked at the expiration date of a store-bought juice and seen two years behind the date of production? The sugar and other added preservatives are mostly why. Stay away from these processed juices and rather invest in a good juicer, get real fruit and vegetables, and simply make your own!
Unless you’re making your own milkshake at home, you’re adding way too many sugar-filled calories to your body. All fast-food places with milkshakes on their menu count hundreds of calories per serving and instead of counting towards your hydration, they’re depleting your body of precious minerals and vitamins by causing inflammation and increasing your blood sugar levels.
If you’re a big fan of milkshakes, simply blend your milk (or plant-based “mylk”) of choice with fruit, cacao powder, vanilla, or any other real ingredient, and sweeten it with a healthy alternative to cane sugar like yacon syrup, monk fruit sweetener, stevia, or coconut sugar. That way you can enjoy your hydrating beverage with all the health benefits of its powerful ingredients.
Staying adequately hydrated throughout the day is crucial for your overall health and well-being, and choosing which drinks to include in your daily routine and which to stay away from is even more important. Choose smarter and enhance your health instead of putting it at risk of dehydration and inflammation.