Last week I attended an invite-only blogger event at Sprouts Farmers Market in Denver. The event was led by nutritionist Suzanne Farrell of Cherry Creek Nutrition who discussed different ways we can hydrate ourselves this summer. Great timing as the hot summer begins today!
As an incentive for attending the event, Sprouts gave each blogger (including me) a goodie bag of hydrating items (water, coconut water, tomato sauces, chicken broth, etc.) as well as a gift card to Sprouts. Thanks Sprouts!
I’d like to share a few awesome things I learned about hydration from Suzanne, including:
- Water is Essential to Life: Did you know that 60% of the body is water – wow! We need water to survive. It helps us keep our muscles working, skin shining, and joints feeling good. Water is essential to mood management, energy regulation, and in helping us rid of toxins from our body. Additionally, water helps transport nutrients throughout the body, which is essential to living a healthy life and maintaining a healthy weight too.
- Drink Up! Suzanne says according to the Institute of Medicine, women need to drink 91 oz or 11 cups of water each day, and men need 125 oz or 15 cups. That sounds like a lot – and it is – so drink up! Gulp!
- Eat Your Fruits and Veggies: A great source of hydration can come from the produce section of the grocery store – and such hydrating fruits and vegetables count towards you 11-15 cups of water per day. I must say, with all sincerity, that Sprouts has my favorite produce section of all grocery stores here in Denver. I also love that Sprouts is dedicated to sourcing a ton of organic and locally raised produce to ensure the best selection and freshest produce in town! Suzanne says the most hydrating of all produce is the cucumber, which is made from 97% water! The second most hydrating produce is watermelon, followed by strawberries, peppers and iceberg lettuce. Other hydrating produce includes celery, cantaloupe, peaches (88% water content in peaches!), apples, radishes, zucchini, tomatoes, cauliflower and broccoli. Not only will these wonderful fruits and veggies hydrate your body, but also they give you all sort of essential nutrients and vitamins your body needs to be healthy.
Something exciting I learned at this event is that Sprouts now offers homemade, fresh squeezed juices! We sampled a few of them on our tour and I must say, they were delicious! Next time you shop at Sprouts, stop by the juice bar and get a fresh juice to not only hydrate yourself, but also to give yourself an instant immunity boost!
As the hydration tour, Suzanne took us down some of the packaged foods aisles to show us other hydrating foods beyond fresh juices and produce. From an integrative nutrition perspective, the best way to hydrate is with water, and then with fruits and vegetables. Beyond that, the rest is simply food, not necessarily tools for hydration. But I do want to share what I learned and add my own spin on things…
Suzanne noted foods such as coffee, milk, yogurt, soup, popsicles and OJ count towards your recommended total cups of water per day. Here are my thoughts on each:
Coffee: Suzanne says that it’s okay to count up to two cups of coffee per day as part of the recommended daily intake of water. However, I think we should be weary of this idea. While I recognize some people don’t drink enough water… I personally find coffee as a dehydrating beverage and don’t recommend that this count toward your water intake for the day. (By all means enjoy coffee if you enjoy it, I just don’t think it should count toward your total water intake for the day.)
Dairy: In general, the integrative nutrition perspective doesn’t require dairy at all. It’s not even included in integrative nutrition dietary guidelines. Most of us can do just fine without dairy, and we consume way too much dairy with the idea that calcium from dairy is good for us (don’t get me started on the correlation between the increased intake of dairy products and skyrocketing osteoporosis in our country). You can get a lot of calcium – and other essential nutrients needed to properly absorb calcium – in leafy greens and other nutrient dense vegetables. Also, be reminded that most yogurts are riddled with sugar (Yoplait, I’m talking to you), and so are so-called “healthy drinks” like GoodBelly Probiotic Drinks. Be careful and choose wisely!
Orange Juice: Suzanne stated that OJ is hydrating, and while consuming juice isn’t the worst thing you can do, you are way better off eating an orange or juicing an orange in your juicer yourself. Most people pour themselves a tall glass of OJ and think they are getting healthy. What they are really doing is spiking their blood sugar and getting fat. Suzanne mentioned that someone should only drink about 4 oz of OJ. I agree! She also says that if you are going to drink OJ, make sure there is no added sugar (the only sugar present should be from the fruit itself).
Popsicles: Popsicles can hydrate and cool down your body on a hot day. Keep in mind that many popsicle brands are loaded with sugar and artificial this or that (Sprouts carries popsicle brands with trusted ingredients). Look for brands that contain no added sugar and are made from real fruit. Suzanne and I agree that if you’re looking for a great summer treat or dessert, popsicles are a way better option than ice cream, cake and pie – so enjoy in moderation.
Soups and Tomato Sauces: While I prefer to make my own soups and sauces and they can be somewhat hydrating, if you do purchase these items, look for ones with no sugar and low sodium so you get the full hydrating and nutritional benefits. Sodium can dehydrate, so purchasing canned soups can be a double edged sword.
Sports Drinks: I also want to make sure to discuss what to hydrate yourself with after a good workout. Did you know that many sports drinks have more sugar than a can of Coke?!? If you work out and then drink a huge bottle of Gatorade, all the calories you burned will be discounted by the sugar you just consumed (a 20-ounce bottle of Lemon-Lime Gatorade contains 34 grams of sugar). A great post-workout drink alternative can be coconut water (although it is high in potassium, it is too low in sodium and carbohydrates to be a perfect sports drink), fresh pressed juice, or a green smoothie.
Overall, Suzanne and Sprouts served up a great (and important) session on hydration – all which reminded me that I need to drink up this summer. Remember, if you’re looking to stay hydrated, nothing beats a glass of fresh water (11-15 cups to be exact!). The clear fluids will not only hydrate you, but also they will deter you from drinking your calories (avoid Gatorade and OJ) and loading up on unneeded sugar.
Cheers to Sprouts and Suzanne for highlighting the importance of hydrating… now drink up!