Looking for the best drinks to hydrate?
It turns out there are quite a few options when it comes to filling your body
back up with water and electrolytes. Whether you're looking for post-workout
replenishment or trying to keep your body hydrated during a bout of the stomach
flu, these options will help you feel better. However, there are also some drinks
that won’t help when it comes to being dehydrated, so watch out for those.
The importance of staying
Staying healthily hydrated means that you’re
maintaining your body’s natural water balance. Your everyday optimal
performance depends on keeping that balance right, so you should replace all
fluid that you lose. As over half of your body is made up of water, all of your
functions depend on there being enough. By knowing the best ways to rehydrate, you can
easily maintain a healthy level of hydration in your body.
Don’t forget that there are many
adverse effects of dehydration
so you can stay motivated to drink more water!
What are the best drinks to hydrate?
for you, there are a few drink options when you’re looking to hydrate. Because
there are a range of options, you can mix and match so hydrating doesn’t get
boring! We’ve listed the best
drinks for you to hydrate below, so make sure to read them all.
No surprises here. Water is always going to be one of the best drinks to hydrate.
Pure water is completely natural. A half to three-quarters of our bodies are
made up of water, so when we start to lose some of it (ie: dehydration), what
do you think it should be replaced with? There’s no arguing with that.
Take a look at
much water we should be drinking.
2. Milk & milk alternatives
. has suggested that
milk is right up there with the most hydrating drinks. This is because it contains the
mineral sodium - an electrolyte also found in rehydration solutions such as
Dioralyte. Along with the natural amounts of sugar (lactose), protein and fat
also found in milk, this slows the amount of urine we pass and therefore can
keep us hydrated for longer. As milk also contains calcium and vitamin D, it’s
generally an all-round healthy drink to help hydration levels.
If you’re not into dairy, you should be able to find a milk alternative to suit
your taste buds. They generally have fewer calories, fat and protein than milk (although
soy milk has roughly the same amount of protein, and coconut milk may contain
more fat). You can also go for the ones with added calcium, but best avoid
those with lots of added sugar.
If you’re ok with dairy in principle and just want to avoid lactose, then
lactose-free milk is your best bet as it has the same nutrient value than
normal milk. Instead of lactose, it contains lactase - the enzyme that
dairy-tolerant people produce that breaks down lactose in their bodies.
3. Fruit and herb-infused water
Adding a slice of fresh fruit or aromatic herb to your water is an ideal way to
add a bit of extra taste while staying healthy. While a slice of lemon, ginger
or mint remain the favourites, why not try some different combinations - such
as strawberry, lime and basil or grapefruit and rosemary?
4. Fruit juice
That’s 100% fruit
juice, not the stuff made from concentrate. Also, while the real stuff is best as it contains lots of
vitamins and minerals, it does contain a fair amount of sugar - around 8-9g per
100ml. Therefore we’re
to keep our daily intake down
to roughly one small glass a day.
Find out more about
amount of sugar in fruit juices and smoothies.
5. Sports drinks
Not to be confused with energy drinks (such as Red Bull), isotonic sports drinks (such as Lucozade Sport, Powerade and Gatorade) are one of
the best ways to rehydrate while exercising. While drinking water is sufficiently
hydrating for light and moderate exercise, isotonic drinks are what you need if
you’re exercising for over an hour or you haven’t eaten in a fair while.
Decent isotonic drinks should contain around 50mg per 100ml of that old
hydration favourite, sodium, along with smaller amounts of other electrolytes
such as potassium and chloride, and around 6-8% should be a carbohydrate
solution (that’s where the sugar is - around 6g per 100ml). This ideal
combination will help give you energy and replenish what you lose in sweat but,
because of all the sugar, isn’t great for you if you’re not exercising.
6. Coconut Water
Coconut water has been called the natural sports drink as it contains all the
essential electrolytes: sodium, calcium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus.
It generally has more potassium than sports drinks and, at around 4-6g per
100ml, slightly less sugar. Coconut water contains far less sodium though so
it’s no substitute if you’re into serious exercise. But that amount of sugar,
while less than most soft drinks and fruit juices, is still one to watch if
you’re not burning it off.
While you don’t want to be drinking too much regular tea all day, as the
caffeine may make you pee more and get dehydrated, herbal tea can be a great
way to help stay healthily hydrated as, like normal tea, it’s full of
antioxidants that can help fight off harmful free radicals that could
contribute to diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
Green tea is particularly great for antioxidants and has less caffeine than
black tea. Decaf tea has obvious advantages over regular tea, but its
antioxidant power isn’t so great.
If you’re intrigued by tea, discover our article on
things you didn’t know about caffeine.
The 8 worst drinks to
While most things are fine in moderation, there are some drinks that
are less than ideal when you’re trying to find the best ways to rehydrate. Check out some of the worst drinks you can
have when trying to stay hydrated:
1. Soft drinks
Most soft or fizzy drinks are packed full of tooth-rotting and weight-adding
sugar, and some also have caffeine.
2. Beer, wine and spirits
Alcohol can have a diuretic effect, meaning
that it can make you pee more often. Although this can affect some people more
than others, anything diuretic will hinder your healthy hydration.
3. Hot chocolate
Although you’re only likely to drink a steaming mug of hot chocolate when it’s
cold and you’re not losing more body fluid than usual through sweat, the bad
news is that calorific hot chocolate can contain more sugar than a can of pop.
We’re not going to tell anyone they shouldn’t enjoy a lovely cup of coffee, but
we would heed advice and not to drink too much of it. Excess caffeine can have
a number of negative effects, from making you pee more, to stopping you
sleeping, to upping your anxiety – although this does vary from person to
Why is lemonade on the naughty list? To counteract the naturally bitter taste
of lemon, a huge amount of sugar is added to lemonade to make it sweet. It’s
enough to make your teeth cringe. Maybe stick to a nice slice of lemon in your
6. Energy Drinks
As we mentioned above, when talking about sports drinks, you shouldn’t get your
Red Bull confused with your Lucozade Sport. While sports drinks like Lucozade
Sport, Powerade and Gatorade are isotonic (made for drinking during long
sessions of heavy exercise) energy drinks are hypertonic (designed for
post-exercise). Hypertonic drinks are more than 10% carbohydrate - that’s a lot
of sugar and salt.
Most soft drinks are hypertonic, including Coke, Pepsi and lemonade. While they may give you an immediate
rehydration sensation when you gulp them down after you’ve been exercising, all
that sugar and salt will do you no good if you haven’t been active.
7. Flavoured milk
We’ve extolled the nutritional virtues of milk above, but when you start to
head towards the flavoured varieties, then that simply means that more sugar
has been added. And we don’t need to keep banging on about why added sugar is
bad for you, do we?
It’s true, sorry. You think that smoothies are all well and good because of the
fruit, right? Well, depending on what’s in them, some may be good as a
post-exercise protein hit and most will be full of vitamins. But, more often
than not, they’ll also be packed with ‘free sugars’ that are released when
fruit and veg are juiced or blended. It’s that same sweet enemy again. The same
rule as fruit juice above applies - stick to one small glass a day.
We already know that your body is constantly expelling water, making you
dehydrated, and these sugar-filled drinks don’t help! Find out all
ways your body loses water throughout the day.
How to know when you’re
The best way to rehydrate
and stay hydrated is to stave off thirst by sipping water throughout the
day, little and often. If you’re exercising or it’s hot, then you should up
your intake to replace the extra fluid your body’s losing. Barring any health
issues, your body does a great job at maintaining its natural water balance
and, if you listen, it will tell when you need to drink more water. Nature’s
best indicator is the colour of your pee - it should be clear or pale yellow,
anything darker means you need to rehydrate.
What are the symptoms of dehydration?
Knowing when you’re dehydrated is important, so you know when your
body needs a little more TLC. Here are the main
symptoms of dehydration,
according to the NHS
- Feeling thirsty
- Dark yellow and strong-smelling urine
- Feeling tired
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
- A dry mouth, lips and eyes
- Urinating little, and fewer than four times a
How does dehydration happen?
Other than not drinking enough water, there are some other ways
that dehydration can occur. Dehydration can happen more easily if you have:
- Vomiting or diarrhoea
- Sweated too much after
- Drunk too much alcohol
- Been taking medicines that make
you pee more (diuretics)
- Been in the sun too long
- A high temperature of 38C or
It's important to know why
you feel so thirsty
, so you can avoid dehydration. Check out article on
this and make sure to
eight ways you can drink more water
While we’ve listed
all the most
hydrating drinks, we’ll always stand by our number one choice - water.
It’s only natural! While the odd little cup of all the other drinks are
absolutely fine (we love our morning coffee!), you should always remember that
your body has its natural levels of water, salt and sugar and will work best
when that balance is maintained. Why create trouble by constantly adding too
much sugar or too much salt? The problem with most drinks, other than water, is
that they contain unnatural levels of sugar and salt, while pure water has all
the healthy natural minerals you need. Some of us will also try to cut down on
dairy and caffeine, so, again, water always comes out on top. We don’t think
you can beat it.
For deliciously crisp water to rehydrate your body, discover why having
a home water system is just like having
mineral water on tap