Health & Beauty

Smart Hydration: Sip On This, Not That!

June 19, 2018

Flip-flops, tan lines, sweaty runs, pool dips, long scenic bike rides, challenging hikes—with sunny weather upon us, it’s more than likely we’ll be spending lots of time outdoors, working up a sweat and, no doubt, eagerly gulping down our favourite cold beverages! With all the H2O alternatives out there, it’s easy to blindly stick a (compostable) straw into a drink loaded with sugar, calories and hidden chemicals—don’t let that be you! Instead, gulp down any of these thirst-quenching, super-healthy options to replenish yourself, and be aware of what not to sip on! (P.S. Plain old water does remain the best option!) —Meg Lewis-Schneider

summer sips

skip: bottled iced teas. sip: organic tea over ice instead. Herbal, green, white or mint teas all have incredible health benefits. For instance, a green-tea blend contains antioxidants that guard against heart disease, fluoride that strengthens teeth and flavonoids that build up bones. Try matcha over ice with slices of cucumber and lime. Mint tea is another great option iced, especially for combatting stiffness and aches as it eases cramps and relaxes muscles.

skip: flavoured waters. sip: watermelon or aloe water instead. The key benefits of watermelon water are that it is 100 per cent natural, has no added sugar and, based on the fact that watermelon being a fruit that is 92 per cent water, the end product is going to be quite low in calories. Aloe water, meantime, has so many prebiotic benefits! Aloe waters are made from the clear liquid extracted from the cactus-like aloe vera plant, supplying vitamins B, C and E, so you get a good dose of antioxidants. (FYI: Flavoured water is basically the same as drinking a glass of liquid sugar. It may deliver some extra vitamins, but all of that added sugar will do more harm than good. Some bottles contain 30 grams of sugar (7 teaspoons) or more!)

skip: coconut water. sip: amino acids instead. While coconut water is believed to be the best thing for hydration and energy (some athletes even swear to it as their go-to post workout drink) it is not as healthy as it is made out to be. True, some coconut water is lower in calories and sugar than a sports drink, but flavoured versions like mango or pineapple can pack more than 30 grams of sugar per 16-ounce container! Instead, mix a serving of BCAAs into your water bottle post-exercise to improve muscle repair, prevent muscle catabolism and increase lean muscle mass! Try Body Energy Club’s Clean Amino Lemon Lime flavour during or following exercise. (Tip: If you really love coconut water, stick to plain and drink it only when you have been sweating or exercising, and not just casually throughout the day.)

summer sips

skip: fruit juice. sip: fruit-infused water instead. Fruit in its raw form is absolutely good for you, but fruit juice lacks the fibre that a pear or apple provides, causing sugar to enter the bloodstream at a faster rate, turning a healthy fruit into a powerful shot of glucose instead. Juice also often contains the same amount of sugar and calories as a soda and sometimes even more, along with chemicals to promote shelf-life. The good news: a glass of fruit-infused water is a great way to add natural flavour to your water, while getting your daily dose of vitamin C if you choose fruits like lemons or oranges. Water also helps dilute the sugar content in the fruit, so it is not as bad as pure fruit juice!

skip: pre-made smoothies. sip: homemade smoothies instead. Not all smoothies are created equal! If you buy your smoothie in a store or high-end gym, don’t assume it’s full of goodness. It may be overloaded with fruits, fats and/or protein powder. A better idea? Make a smoothie from scratch, so you can control the ingredients and the quantity, ensuring it ends up as nutrient dense as you want it to be. Try to throw in more vegetables than fruit, namely greens for an extra health punch!

skip: energy drinks and protein shakes. sip: chia water instead. After activity, try easy-to-make chia water—simply soak chia seeds in water and drink up. Chia seeds can absorb up to 10 times their weight in water and they swell within minutes, which makes for a lovely natural energy drink. Sabja seeds or basil seeds act in a similar way and can be used to make a hydrating drink as well that is known to cool your body and is great to beat the summer heat. You can even add chia seeds or sabja seeds to milk.

summer sips

skip: high-sugar kombucha. sip: the low-sugar kind instead. In general, kombucha—a fizzy, fermented elixir made up of good-for-you bacteria, yeast and tea—is healthy and low in calories, but it doesn’t make it a magic potion. Be aware and buy brands with less sugar!

skip: sweetened plant-based milk. sip: the low-sugar kind instead. A glass of chocolate plant-based milk, for instance, can have the same amount of sugar as a handful of cookies or a chocolate bar. Read the ingredients before you buy so you don’t end up with a sugar bomb for breakfast. (Tip: Choose non-dairy milk like almond, soy, oat, or cashew that is unsweetened and pour over a tall glass of ice. You’ll not only be hydrating yourself, but you’ll also get some healthy carbohydrates and protein with each sip.)

Meg Lewis-Schneider is an elite distance runner, a passionate yogi and a broadcast journalist graduate originally from Cape Town, South Africa. Her big loves include listening to podcasts on the go, indulging in dark chocolate daily, getting lost in nature, catching up with friends over coffee, and anything that makes her heart beat fast! She strives to inspire and motivate others to chase after ambitious goals and dream big through her social media presence and her relentless tenacity toward her own pursuits. Author photo by Brittni Rose.


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