There’s a saying by American poet W.H. Auden that goes, “Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.” This stylistic but realistic reflection on life holds great truth in our society. Water is the essence of existence, survival, and personage. Without this source of sustenance, humankind would fail to sustain our very livelihoods.
Water is the breath of life in our world, meaning that keeping adequately hydrated is a critical element of health during every season of the year. We know this full well—we know that we’re supposed to stay hydrated each day, and increasingly so during the heat of summertime. But what about when water tastes so doggone watery? For your consideration, we’ve compiled a list of the best drinks to keep you hydrated this summer. The next time you’re thirsty, reach for these alternative beverages that won’t work directly against hydration goals.
Fruit-Infused Water or Reduced-Sugar Fruit Juice
Drinking plain water day in and day out can be monotonously draining to the soul. If you find this endeavor increasingly arduous during the summer, infusing your glass or bottle of water is surely the route to go. Water infused with fruit or herbs offers a fresh taste without adding too much sugar. Avoiding saccharine-sweet drinks is key to staying properly hydrated. Some refreshing combos are lime and basil, cucumber and mint, or good old strawberry-lemon. Don’t forget about coconut water.
If you prefer fruit juice, a smaller or watered-down glass is another mindful alternative for reducing sugar intake. If you choose 100 percent fruit juice, the juice customarily contains an organically high percentage of water for super hydration, alongside vitamins from the natural fruits. That’s a win-win situation. Smoothies made of ice, seasonal produce, and greens or slices of watermelon are favorable hydration options as well.
Healthy Sports Drinks With Active Electrolytes
Athletes and fitness junkies alike are aware of the benefits of electrolytes. Electrolytes are minerals that your heart, nerves, and muscles require to function well. These minerals move nutrients into the cells, expel excess waste, and balance your body’s water amount. Typically found in various foods and drinks, sports drinks are excellent sources of these elusive hydrating electrolytes, especially if homemade.
Flavorful beverages in the sports drink category are some of the best drinks to keep you hydrated this summer. However, keep in mind the ingredient content once again, especially with popular brands such as Gatorade, Powerade, or Propel. Chugging a slew of ultra-processed sports drinks doesn’t quite align with an active, healthy lifestyle. Your body will only think it’s still thirsty, creating a cycle of dehydration.
Iced and Hot Herbal Teas
Besides avoiding drinks loaded with sugar, avoiding caffeinated soda, coffee, beer, and hard liquor is wise to keep in tip-top hydrated shape. You can still look to caffeine-free tea as a solid source of summertime hydration. Tea is just about as suitably hydrating as water, and also contains vital antioxidants. You can easily brew herbal tea with dried fruits that support digestion, healthy sleep patterns, and natural detoxing. Hands-down, any of the above drink options are your best bet for a thirst-quenched summer.