When you were young (or even now), have you ever been nagged because you did/do not drink enough water?
“Go drink water even if you’re not thirsty.”
“Make sure to drink at least 2 liters of water every day.”
But what if you don’t like the plain taste of water? Well, look no further, here we share some awesome alternatives to water that will help you stay hydrated and improve your overall well-being.
But before we get to that, let’s learn more about why it is so important to stay hydrated.
WHY HYDRATION IS SO IMPORTANT
Did you know that you can live without food for about 3 weeks, but you cannot live without water for more than 3 days?
This is because at least 60% of the adult body is made of water, and every living cell needs it to keep functioning. Water acts as a lubricant for our joints, regulates our body temperature through sweating and respiration, and helps to flush waste.
According to Claude Piantadosi of Duke University, you can go 100 hours without drinking at an average temperature outdoors. If it’s cooler, you can go a little longer. If you are exposed to direct sunlight, it’s less. Therefore, if you do something that requires physical strength or be under the sun for too long, water is absolutely a necessity to compensate for the lost water when you sweat.
Why drinking water is vital to our well-being and survival:
- Regulate body temperature
- Keep joints lubricated
- Prevent infections
- Deliver nutrients to cells
- Keep organs functioning properly.
- Improves sleep quality, cognition, and mood
- Help losing weight
- Detox your body
The BIG question becomes, how much water should I drink every day for the optimal well-being?
Experts recommend drinking roughly 8 cups of water per day for an average person. And not all of those cups have to come from plain water; for example, some can come from water flavored with fruit or vegetables, or flowers.
However, the right amount of water you need really depends on the person; different people need different amounts of water to stay hydrated. Most healthy people can stay well hydrated by drinking water and other fluids whenever they feel thirsty. For some people, fewer than 8 cups of water may be enough. Other people may need more than 8 glasses each day.
One thing to keep in mind: although any beverage can contribute to your daily water intake, it is best to stay away from artificial ingredients and sugar-sweetened drinks because it does more harm than good. This is because sugar is scientifically proven to:
- Increases the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease
- Causes blood glucose to spike and plummet
- Interferes with immune function
- Results in chromium deficiency
- Accelerates aging
- Causes tooth decay and gum disease
- Affects behavior and cognition in children
- Increases stress
- Takes the place of important nutrients
Therefore, being mindful about the drinks you choose is even more important how much you hydrate. And first, let's get into where sugar lurks—believe it or not, a drink needn't even taste all that sweet for it to be loaded with sugar. When it comes to convenience and packaged foods, let the ingredients label be your guide, and be aware that just because something boasts that it is low in carbs or a “diet" food doesn't mean it's free of sugar.
Below we share 11 joyful ways to hydrate better.
11 ALTERNATIVES TO WATER
Back to the question, “How can I stay hydrated if I don’t like the taste of plain water?” The good news is, there are many ways that you can get your daily water intake without drinking actual water. Let me introduce you to my top 11 favorite ways:
1. FLOWER TEAS
Flowers are rich in antioxidants, often contain zero calories and naturally caffeine free which makes them wonderful to enjoy any time of the day for just about everyone.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, flowers have some of the most Qi, or life energy as when plants flower they are believe to be at the peak of their life and it produces the most Qi/energy. Because of this, flowers are used in many healing protocols in Traditional Chinese Medicine including flower teas. It's important to not all flowers are edible and can be enjoyed as a tea, and not all edible flowers are grown for ingestion. For instance, Rose is one of the most popular edible flowers but most Roses are not cultivated as food grade. Please ensure your flower teas come from reputable sources.
In addition, flowers aid relaxation. The scent of flowers is known to aid relaxation, thus so many self care products are scented with floral notes. It's why perfume and room spray are known to evoke happier feelings. How we incorporate flowers in our daily lives are endless. Flower teas are another great way to enjoy their aroma and hydrate as well.
Here are our top flower teas that we think you'd love:
Known for its floral and sweet flavor, chrysanthemum tea goes great with a little bit of honey and goji berries. It's known as a cleansing and detoxing herb in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It's wonderfully light with a touch of herbal notes.
There are many varieties of rose tea: from organic rose tea, rosebud tea, rosehip tea (which comes from the fruit of the rose bush) to rose petal tea. Each has its own unique flavor profile and benefits. Roses have a distinct floral flavor, while rosehips tend to have a more delicate floral flavor with a tart aftertaste. Known for its high vitamin C content, anti bacteria, anti inflammatory and anti septic properties.
Once known as The Sacred Blue Lily of the Nile, the Ancient Egyptians used the blue lotus flower in medicine and celebration. They often used the blue lotus to induce a state of euphoria and relaxation. It was also a symbol of life and rebirth as the blue lotus blooms in murky waters one time a year for three days. Blue lotus tea have different level of relaxation effects on everyone, it has also been used to induce lucid dreaming for many.
Blue lotus is a great tea for sleep. Many people enjoy drinking a cup or two before bed for some extra deep sleep. Therefore, if you have trouble sleeping, might want to try a cup of blue lotus tea and see if it's helpful for you with a more restful night of sleep.
2. ADAPTOGEN/ADAPTOGENIC HERBAL TEA
Adaptogen or super herbal teas/functional teas are generally made up of different herbs that come with great benefits such as:
- Cacao/dark chocolate
- Lemon balm
And more. You can find popular blends for different functions which are great alternative to plain water.
3. ALTERNATIVE MILK
One of the more popular non-dairy alternatives, almond milk is rich in Vitamin E while being lower in calories than cow’s milk. It’s also popular for cooking purposes, like with oatmeal, and as an addition to your morning coffee.
That said, if you have a nut allergy, you’ll obviously want to steer clear of almond milk. It also does not provide either protein or fiber, so if you’re drinking almond milk, make sure to make up for those nutrients elsewhere.
If your vegan or lactose-intolerant, cashew milk is yet another nut-based alternative that has a rich, creamy taste. Cashew milk is loaded up with vitamin E, like almond milk, and low on calories, cholesterol and sugar.
A very popular non-dairy option, the plant-based milk alternative is cholesterol-free, low in saturated fats and high in protein. Oh, and it’s another great lactose-free option and is great for cooking needs, too.
Besides being a milk alternative for consumers with allergies (nut, soy or lactose), it has a sweeter taste which usually means less sugar additives. And, like other alternatives, it’s well fortified for other nutrients.
The big downside is that rice milk can be high in carbohydrates and calories while having very little protein and fiber.
Like other options, though, coconut milk has zero protein and while it’s low in calories, it’s also high in fat, the good kind. And though there are many coconut milk options that have been diluted to offer less fat and calories
The upside is that coconut milk, if unsweetened, contains no carbs in an 8-ounce serving and can offer a thick and creamy plant-based alternative suitable to dairy and nut allergies.
Hemp milk comes with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and fewer calories than whole milk.
Oat milk is made from, oats, water and store bought ones often have additional ingredients like added oil, gums or thickeners. One big advantage of oat milk for folks with dietary restrictions or food sensitivities is that it’s naturally free of dairy, lactose, soy and nuts.
Like a lot of other non-dairy options, oat milk generally comes with added calcium, vitamin D, vitamin A and riboflavin. It also typically has a bit more protein and fiber than other alternatives.
4. COCONUT WATER
As a naturally sweet drink, coconut water is an excellent substitute for plain water if you are craving some sweet fluids. It is also more beneficial than regular water after exercise, because it can provide enough sodium to replace the salt that you are losing in your sweat. Plus, it tastes awesome!
5. FRUIT JUICES
Fruit juices are not only tasty, they can also be used in smoothies for a refreshing treat to enjoy, added to salads, or made into vegetable juices. Here are some fruits that are exceptionally high in water content:
- Honeydew melon
- Grape fruit (or any citrus fruits)
6. VEGETABLE JUICES
Vegetables can be used to make juices that are both hydrating and provide awesome benefits. One of my favorite plant juices is celery juice because it is:
- Very hydrating: Celery juice consists mostly of water.
Smoothies contain more fiber than juices as it often has the "meat" of the fruits and vegetables which offers a great alternative and can help you feel full when drinking it. Mornings are generally the best time to enjoy fruit and vegetable smoothies as they can be digested fairly quickly compare to proteins and other food groups. This is helpful because it allows your body to absorb the key nutrients quickly can can move on to other bodily functions.
8. CHIA WATER
Often known as a super food, Chia seeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds are high in fiber which can help to increase satiety. They are also a good source of protein and fat, both of which are filling and may prevent overeating. Just 1 ounce (about 2 tbsp) of the tiny black seeds boasts 4.7g protein, 10 g fiber (an excellent source), and 9 g fat (almost exclusively the good kind), per the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
To drink Chia Water, first, soak them in water for 30 minutes or until they are a “tapioca-like gel consistency.” Try 1 tbsp of the seeds in a typical glass of water.
Warm soups offer up a limitless possibilities of culinary yummy goodness. For a lighter hydration option try veggie soups. These flavorful broths are loaded with a wealth of healthful nutrients, are extremely beneficial for overall health and wellness. Not only does it aid in weight loss and eases digestion but also prevents gastric anomalies, strengthens bones and promotes heart functioning.
In particular, vegetable-based soups are a great option nutritionally as they combine a high nutrient density with a low energy density – this means that we get lots of key nutrients including vitamins and minerals for relatively few calories
10. BONE BROTH
Bone broth is rich in minerals that help build and strengthen your bones. It also contains many other healthy nutrients, including vitamins, amino acids, and essential fatty acids. Although it depends on the actual ingredients in your recipe of bone broth.
Not only is bone broth easy to digest, but it may also aid in the digestion of other foods. The gelatin found in bone broth naturally attracts and holds liquids. This is why properly prepared broth congeals in the fridge.
Gelatin can also bind to water in your digestive tract, which helps foods move through your gut more easily.
It’s also been shown to protect and heal the mucosal lining of the digestive tract in rats. It’s thought to have the same effect in humans, but more research needs to be done to show its effectiveness.
For all of these reasons, drinking bone broth may be beneficial for individuals with leaky gut, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.
Matcha, like other green teas, contains a class of antioxidants called catechins. Matcha is high in a catechin called EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), which is believed to have cancer-fighting effects on the body. Studies have linked green tea to a variety of health benefits, like helping to prevent heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer, and even encouraging weight loss. However, it’s important to note that much of this research isn’t from clinical trials that show green tea causes a benefit. Instead, it’s largely from population-based studies, where researchers look at groups of people who drink green tea and compare their health outcomes to groups that don’t drink it. Studies have shown associations between tea and better health, but causation is not yet proven. Matcha is even less studied than brewed green tea.
OTHER TIPS TO STAY HYDRATED
Now that you know how to stay hydrated, here are some more tips that can help as a friendly reminder:
Besides keeping you hydrating, drinking water first thing in the morning also flushes out the stomach and balances the lymphatic system. A stable lymphatic system will help build a strong immune system, which will prevent us from getting sick as often. Therefore, make it a routine, and your body will thank you later!
Besides keeping you hydrated, water can also be really helpful for weight loss! It is 100% calorie-free, helps you burn more calories, and may even suppress your appetite if consumed before meals. By drinking water before every meal, it will make you feel fuller and, therefore, eat less.
Not only carrying your own water reduces waste and promotes more sustainability, by having your own, you will save more time and money by not having to look for water and buy water.
Adding a few lemon slices, or flowers to your water can add a whole new taste.
Whenever you have time off from work or school, drinking flower teas in between would soothe your mind and keep you hydrated at the same time!