Nutrition Challenge Week #4
By: Crystal Flores, Registered Dietician
Staying hydrated is one of the best things you can do for your body. This is especially true during pregnancy, lactation and physical activity. During pregnancy, fluid helps us with digestion, increasing our blood volume to supply nutrients to our developing baby, keep amniotic fluid levels up and prevent swelling to name a few. During lactation, proper hydration helps to increase and maintain our milk supply. During physical activity, even mild dehydration prevents coordination, concentration, stamina and reaction time. If you are feeling thirsty, you are already dehydrated.
How much water do we need? Simple equation. Take your body weight in pounds and divide by two. That is the minimum ounces of water you need per day. So, if you weigh 150 pounds, you need at least 75 ounces of water daily.
What about fluids other than water? Sports drinks are a good choice when engaging in strenuous physical activity lasting longer than one hour. Drinks such as Gatorade and Poweraid deliver energy and electrolytes to replace what was lost in sweat. Juice can be a great source of vitamin C and electrolytes (depending on the type of juice), but more than 4-8 ounces per day can hinder weight loss efforts. Milk, especially chocolate milk, is great post workout because it provides protein, carbohydrate, vitamins, minerals and electrolytes your body needs for recovery. Caffeinated beverages can actually contribute to dehydration and are not the best choice.
If you do not like water, here are some tips to make it a little tastier:
- Fill a pitcher of water and add in a sliced fruit of your liking. Popular choices are lemon and lime.
- For an even more refreshing twist on the classic water with lemon, add in a sprig of fresh mint.
- Have a cup of tea or coffee in the morning. Decaf is great for those who are sensitive to caffeine.
- Try flavored seltzer water or add in a splash of 100% fruit juice to a plain seltzer.
- Sugar-free and calorie-free versions of many popular beverages are available, but just be aware these do contain artificial sweeteners. Everyone seems to have a different opinion on sweeteners and I will give you mine: everything in moderation. Don’t make this your “go to” beverage of choice.