The warm luscious days of summer are upon us. The heat calls us to jump and play in all of the beautiful lakes and rivers around us. With the sun at its hottest, it is so important to make sure our bodies are getting enough water. But sometimes simply drinking more water doesn’t solve the whole equation.
Have you ever had the experience of drinking copious amounts of water and still feeling thirsty? Chinese medicine likens this phenomenon to a flash flood in the desert. When the earth is too dry, it can’t absorb the water, so it just runs off.
Historically, humans have gotten their water from wells and rivers. Water from the earth is rich in minerals and electrolytes, which makes it far easier for our bodies to absorb. Remember the goal is to get water into each and every one of our cells, and not just into the bloodstream. An old Naturopathic trick is to throw a pinch of sea salt into filtered drinking water. I like to use a diversity of different salts, as they all contain different minerals. I also love filling glass jars with water from Tubs Springs near mile marker 19 on the Greensprings Highway. Often I have patients add a few drops of liquid ionic trace minerals to their water for similar reasons.
Another hurdle to drinking enough water is that it can get boring. This is a place where our mineral rich herbal teas shine through. Some of my favorites are Nettles (which is also great for allergies), Raspberry leaf and Red Clover. In Chinese medicine, the flavor sour is associated with generating fluids, so I love to put some Hibiscus in too. It is so much fun putting herbs into a big glass jar, filling it with water and setting it into the sun to brew. The best part of these concoctions is when it’s time to enjoy them with a few refreshing ice cubes.
You can also eat a lot of water. Cucumbers, watermelon, cantaloupe, strawberries, grapefruit, peaches, nectarines, grapes and tomatoes are all high in water content.
One of my favorite ways to start the day is with a squeeze of lemon in a tall glass of water. That way the morning starts by getting hydrated after 8 hours of not having any liquids. The juice of the lemon has some pretty incredible health benefits. It is chock full of antioxidants, vitamin C, electrolytes, potassium, and bioflavonoids. The magic of the lemon is that it benefits everything from our heart to our livers and our immune system.
I hope these fun tips help your summer feel energetic, inviting, and healthful.