Guest Contributor: Hydration Matters with Dr. Rai
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Guest post by: Dr. Rai Harris
Ever been so hot that you don’t even feel your sweat? Most of us have, and when you get to that point, there’s a good chance that you’re probably dehydrated.
Talking to my patients about hydration is a conversation that I have consistently. People always think they are drinking more water than they are, or that they are drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated when they usually aren’t even close. With temperatures continuing to creep up, and plenty of summer still ahead of us, I want to let you in on a few of my biggest hydration secrets.
If you’re thirsty, you’re probably already dehydrated. Usually by the time that our body senses that it's thirsty, it is telling us that it's missing the available hydration to function. That means that every system has already diminished its function, just to be able to keep going. So rather than wait until you’re thirsty to drink, continue to drink water all day, especially if you aren’t thirsty. It’s much easier to get an appropriate amount of ounces throughout the day rather than chugging. A rough, easy measurement for enough water? Approximately ½ of your body weight, in ounces, plus the amount of ounces you drank in anything that’s NOT water.
Water alone doesn’t cut it for the best hydration. Our body needs salt and sugar to utilize the water we drink for optimal hydration. HOLD ON THOUGH. That doesn’t mean that we should run to our nearest sugary soft drink or salty chips. It means that water molecules are more beneficial to the body when they are accompanied by certain salts and certain carbohydrates. I like to suggest a super tiny pinch of Himalayan pink salt to be added to water. Not so much that the water tastes salty though, but just enough to get some extra minerals added to your water. I also like to suggest gel water. This is something I learned about during fertility training. When we want the body to absorb the most water, we actually want the water to be in a 4th state - the gel like state. This happens with the addition of chia seeds or full pieces of fruits and veggies with a gelatinous membrane and interior - such as any citrus fruits, cucumbers, or zucchini. Make sure that some of the membrane is exposed or that the fruit/veggie is cut open. There are all kinds of yummy flavors that you can make with some creativity.
Always check the ingredients. If you plan on drinking a ready made electrolyte drink make sure you check the ingredients. Hydration is not worth the price of super sugary drinks (with lots of high fructose corn syrup) or dyes that can cause nervous system dysfunction. Even some of our favorite brands (Gatorade, Body Armor, etc) contain red, blue, and yellow dyes which can do damage within your nervous system.
Carry water everywhere. I can’t tell you how often as a mom, my errands take way longer than I expect them to. That’s why in my family, water is non-negotiable. We make sure everyone has a bottle packed no matter where we’re going or how long the trip is. If we want to constantly drink water throughout the day, we want to make sure that we have good, quality, filtered water wherever we go. Plus, it's always helpful if you’re stranded somewhere a little longer than anticipated, you’re going to want to make sure you keep a drink!
Stay away from the other stuff. Like I mentioned earlier, every time you drink something that isn’t water throughout the day, likely you will have to drink more water to actually hydrate your cells and balance out the likely sugary, fatty, or highly caffeinated beverage that you previously consumed. The easiest way to stay hydrated is simply to stay away from things that constantly dehydrate you. When the temperature is super warm, I bet that second cup of coffee, energy drink, slurpee, or milkshake aren’t absolutely necessary every day. Being more hydrated will give your body energy to be able to do things that are much more fun than enjoying one beverage. And if you’re over the age of 21, know that alcohol is a huge dehydrator, so make sure if you’re on a patio sipping away mimosas at brunch or whiskey sours at happy hour, know that you should be following each drink with a couple glasses of water to keep your body functioning optimally.
Like I said, hydration is a hot topic in our office. These are my 5 best tips to keep you hydrated. I know this may be difficult, but even trying one of the tips could make a huge difference for you or your family this summer. I’m always here to help, so if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. Who knows, it might turn into my next feature blog or social media post to help others!
Dr. Rai Harris is on a mission to make the city of Chattanooga one of the healthiest cities in America by empowering families with their health. She currently owns and operates Skyline Chiropractic on Gunbarrel Rd with her incredible husband Jake and miracle baby, Kaiya. Dr. Rai serves the Chattanooga and surrounding areas through principled, neurologically based, chiropractic care specifically for the preconception, prenatal, and pediatric demographics.