As summer and warmer weather draws near, staying well hydrated is crucial for your overall health and a strong immune system. Getting enough water each day is especially important if you have an active infection, or you have diarrhea from using antibiotics. Dehydration from antibiotics is also a very common problem.
It’s easy to forget to drink enough water throughout the day, especially if you’re active and on the go. And most common beverages could be doing your immune system more harm than good.
While a cold soda, sports drink or fruit juice can be a tempting refreshment on a hot day, water is a much better option for hydration and to support your immune system. Water is free from the immune-weakening sugar, unneeded calories and artificial ingredients found in most popular beverages.
A bit about beverage quality and quantity
It’s important to understand that water means water. Yes, there’s water in soda, coffee, tea, and many other drinks, but these are not meant to keep you hydrated. You can enjoy a cup of coffee or a soda, but make the following distinction in your mind: Most beverages are simply a treat, not a substitute for hydration throughout the day with water.
As a good rule of thumb, always drink water if you’re thirsty, and you probably need more water than you think. Most adults should drink a minimum of 2 quarts per day for adequate hydration. If you are exercising or if it’s hot out, then you’ll probably need 3 or 4 quarts per day. For heavy exertion at high altitude or in extreme heat and low humidity, up to 6 quarts of water may be needed.
Most municipal water supplies have chlorine, fluoride and some have odor causing compounds. Chlorine in your water kills both good and bad bacteria in your digestive system. Filtering and purifying your water can make a HUGE improvement in the taste and remove toxins from the water. Removing chlorine from tap water and taking probiotics is a great way to help boost your immune system. As an alternative to installing your own water filter, some natural food stores sell high-purity bulk filtered water at an affordable price.
How to spruce up your water
Water should make up the majority of your daily hydration, with other beverages in moderation. While drinking water is the healthiest way to stay hydrated, water by itself can get a little boring over time. Fortunately, you can jazz up your water with a few simple (and healthy) tips:
- Infuse your water with fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs. Freshly minced lavender, mint or basil are excellent herbs to spice up your water. Adding thinly sliced fresh lemon, cucumber or melon adds a crisp, refreshing taste. For a light, natural sweetness, try adding some sliced pineapple, strawberry or to a pitcher of water and refrigerate overnight. Just add the herbs and/or sliced fruits and veggies to a pitcher of purified water and refrigerate overnight to allow plenty of time for the flavors to infuse into the water. Try different combinations and see which you like most.
- You can also add store-bought organic unsweetened cranberry juice or green tea to spruce up your water. These ingredients can also alkalize your water and help raise your pH. A cup or so of unsweetened juice per gallon of water is a good place to start (or per the label). You can also infuse the mixture with herbs or other ingredients if you like.
To your best health,