The 3 Best Hydrating Drinks That Aren’t Water, From a Certified Sports Dietitian

keep your body hydrate is key to much of what your body does. According Harvard Health, staying hydrated helps regulate your body temperature, delivers nutrients to your cells, keeps your organs functioning properly, lubricates your joints, helps prevent infections, and even improves sleep, cognition, and mood. Hydration is also important after a workout, since your body loses fluid when you sweat. Drinking a hydrating beverage after training is important to replenish the body with the fluids you have just lost, while maintaining normal body function and helps muscle recovery.

Whereas the water is usually the go-to drink when you’re thirsty – and rightly so, because it’s great for you – it’s not the only drink that hydrates you and benefits your body post-workout. Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LDa certified sports dietitian who has worked with teams like the Texas Rangers and Dallas Cowboys (as well as the author of The Sports Nutrition Handbook), shares three alternative hydrating drinks you can enjoy that will also help your muscles and even give you a nutritional boost.

Here’s how much water you really need in a day, with the latest wisdom from nutrition scientists

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Cow milk

“Did you know that milk is about 90% water? This makes it an excellent source of hydration,” says Goodson. Milk also contains potassium, which is “an important electrolyte for hydration and muscle function. (SoThis explains why sometimes nothing quenches your thirst like a glass of milk!)

In addition to its moisturizing benefits, milk contains 13 essential nutrients, such as calcium, vitamin D (good for bone health), selenium (a powerful antioxidant), B vitamins and very healthy proteins. “Due to its high protein content, milk and Chocolate milk are also superior sources of post-workout hydration,” says Goodson.

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Smoothies made from cow’s milk, Greek yogurt, fruits and even vegetables actually provide a variety of sources of hydration,” says Goodson. “[Because] milk provides lots of nutrients, it’s a great base for a smoothie.

Similar to milk, fruits and vegetables have high water levels content that amplifies the hydration of the smoothie. Smoothies like those offered by To harvestfor example, are full of healthy moisturizing ingredients such as goji berries and spinach.

“Plus, they’re packed with nutrients and antioxidants,” Goodson says. “Milk, yogurt, Medjool dates, strawberries, and bananas are all high in potassium.” Drop them!

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Sports drinks

“If you are an athlete, a big sports person or work outdoors, sports drinks are a great source of hydration for you,” says Goodson. “They provide sodium and potassium, which are the main electrolytes lost in sweat.”

electrolytes in the body are important for moving water and nutrients to the parts of the body where they are needed while maintaining water balance in the cells of your body. Sports drinks with electrolytes help replenish what was lost during a workout, keeping your body hydrated.

“[Sports drinks] also provide carbs, which is needed for workouts that last well over 90 minutes,” she says. “If you don’t exert as much energy, but sweat a lot, choose a low-calorie sports drink that still contains electrolytes.”

Another tip? Pay attention to added sugar, the less the better. Also be wary of a list of synthetic ingredients, as chemicals and dyes are not ideal for your well-being.

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