As summer approaches and temperatures rise - what an ideal time to revisit hydration needs.
With rising temperatures, body fluids are increasingly lost through perspiration, which makes the body’s systemic and cellular hydration requirements higher. When basic physiological requirements are not met (i.e., dehydration), the heart is forced to work harder, compromising both mental and physical performance. In fact, when cells are inadequately hydrated, the body has to make vital shifts in metabolic activity, which leads to immune system dysfunction, digestive and detoxification adjustments (impacting energy levels), decreased resilience, and decreased cognitive abilities.
You may be well aware of how important hydration is to your performance and yet hearing that you need to drink more water can sound like a broken record. Why is it that beverages (especially energy drinks, combinations of teas, lemonades, and fruit juices) are the fastest growing segments in the retail grocery market, while drinking enough water in the day can seem daunting? Is it because water seems so plain and boring in comparison? Unfortunately, even with the claims promising improved performance, many of the popular conventional beverages also serve up performance-robbing ingredients: excess caffeine, too many simple sugars, and artificial additives.
At Tignum, we try to maximize hydration while also providing scientifically proven, practical, fun, and tasty solutions. One of these solutions is using the passive infusion of fruits, vegetables, and herbs in your water. Hydration research by Armstrong has shown that key minerals (potassium/magnesium) and water-soluble vitamins (Bs and C) from plant foods are critical in improving cellular hydration and function. While adding natural flavor to water to enhance taste is nothing new, thinking about the best phytonutrient combinations to improve performance is critical.
The following infusions are easy to prepare and can offer a variety of combinations to satisfy many taste palates. While there are no exact measurements of fruit/vegetables to water ratio, as a general rule we use approximately 1 cup of fruit/vegetable to 4 to 8 cups (1 to 2L) of filtered water.
TIGNUM HIGH PERFORMANCE HYDRATION INFUSIONS:
Mint, basil and/or lime can freshen breath or clear congestion especially when travelling or giving a presentation.
Lemon verbena, chamomile flowers, or spice-cardamom can aid digestion and minimize bloating.
Ginger, strawberries, kiwi and/or melon such as watermelon or cantaloupe can support the immune system.
OTHER GREAT COMBINATIONS FOR YOU TO EXPERIMENT WITH:
Orange and Blueberry
2 mandarin oranges cut into wedges
1 cup blueberries
Watermelon and Mint
1 cup watermelon
4-8 mint leaves, lightly crushed to release oils
Strawberry, Lime, and Cucumber
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 cup sliced cucumbers
2 limes, sliced
4-8 fresh mint leaves, lightly crushed to release oils
Rosemary and Grapefruit
1 grapefruit – without the rind & cut into slices
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
Cardamom, Orange, and Vanilla
1 large organic orange, sliced
1 Tablespoon cardamom
1/2 large vanilla bean, sliced lengthwise
1 cup cantaloupe pieces
1 cup watermelon pieces
1 cup honeydew pieces
Pineapple and Ginger
1 cup fresh pineapple pieces (crushed for more of a sweeter taste)
1 inch piece of ginger, thinly sliced
Cucumber and Lavender
1 cucumber, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon dried culinary lavender or 2 fresh lavender sprigs
I hope these infused water suggestions help you have a well-hydrated and high performance summer. As always, we would love to hear what you think.
By Patti Milligan
Director of Nutrition