Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Sometimes as the summer months approach I feel that is my mantra, during prenatal appointments, to my kiddos and to myself. Living in Central Texas can be a sweaty, hot mess and it takes many glasses of clear liquid to make it through without any problems. It turns out that up to 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated (http://www.medicaldaily.com/75-americans-may-suffer-chronic-dehydration-according-doctors-247393) so after reading that I decided that when I crave a 3pm coffee I would try to drink a couple glasses of water first to see if simple dehydration is causing my fatigue. A small green vintage glass in my grandmother’s kitchen also comes to mind when discussing this topic. Every morning Momo would have a small glass of orange juice, rinse her glass, leave it by the kitchen sink and then take a drink of water from it whenever she went into the kitchen. Good habits make for good health.
So what’s the importance of hydration in pregnancy? Dr Robert Lee explains that “60 percent of our body is composed of water, 75 percent in our muscles, 85 percent in our brains, it’s like oil to a machine.” It is also necessary for the body to digest and absorb vitamins and nutrients as well as the key to proper digestion; it detoxifies the liver and kidneys, and carries waste away. Hmm… pretty important, especially when you are growing another human. I find that I get an increased number of calls from mamas about 2 weeks after the summer heat begins in earnest. These mamas are calling because of stronger and longer Braxton-hicks or warm-up contractions before their due time. My first recommendation is to drink 16oz of water and put their feet up. 99% of the time dehydration was the cause and all is well after drinking clear fluid. The best idea is to not find yourself in this worrisome predicament. A great guideline for adequate hydration during pregnancy is to drink ½ your body weight in ounces of clear fluids daily. That looks like 80 ounces for a 160lb person. Remember my grandmother’s green glass? Find something similar that will work for you; maybe a mason jar fitted with a straw, or your favorite glass water bottle. Know how many ounces are in this vessel, figure out how many of those you need to drink daily and start your routine today! Your body will thank you.
“Electrolytes are another key component to adequate hydration and especially important in our hot & humid climate. These are critical because our cells, particularly our muscles, use certain chemicals together with water to make sure that the electrical charges in our bodies work properly. Sodium, chloride, potassium, calcium and magnesium are minerals which dissolve in water and form what we call electrolytes” (http://www.thehippyhomemaker.com/homemade-electrolyte-drink/). Maintaining a consistent and adequate supply of electrolytes is important to maintain specific bodily functions at optimal levels. Cramping is a way your body lets you know your electrolyte tank is empty.
So what are some ways of ensuring you’re getting enough electrolytes?
Ingredients for summer hydration drinks Freshly Pressed Juice: Lemon, lime and orange have naturally occurring electrolytes and easily digestible sugars to help maintain a good balance and give a natural energy zip!
Salt: Himalayan sea salt or Real Salt are good options since they have trace minerals along with the sodium. If you are going to use table salt try to also add a liquid trace mineral.
Coconut Water: “Nature’s Gatorade” it contains sodium and the ever-necessary potassium. It can be cost prohibitive so feel free to use one of the recipes below as an awesome and inexpensive substitute.
Raw Honey or Maple Syrup: Any good electrolyte hydrating beverage has one of these for its natural sweetening and energizing effect. Raw honey also has antibacterial properties and is rich in minerals.
Here are some fabulous recipes:
3-4 cups filtered water or carbonated water
¾ cup freshly squeezed orange juice (2-3 oranges depending on their juiciness)
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ teaspoon Mediterranean sea salt or Real Salt
2-4 tablespoons raw honey or maple syrup
1 crushed calcium/magnesium tablet
3 cups coconut water
1 cup filtered water
¼ cup fresh squeezed lime juice
2-3 tablespoons raw honey, maple syrup or stevia to taste
¼ teaspoon Mediterranean sea salt or Real Salt
Then there is the make your own electrolyte drink without a recipe. Just use some of the following depending on your flavor palette for the day!
Citrus fruit juice of your choice (orange, lime, lemon, pummelo, grapefruit)
Raw honey, maple syrup or stevia
Powdered calcium and/or magnesium
Packet of Emergen-C
Jayme & Kate