Fresh out of bed, you’ll want to rehydrate right away. From coffee to smoothie to water, what’s the best option for you?
Just seconds after you open your eyes in the morning, you may notice a dry mouth. After a long night’s sleep, it’s your body’s subtle way of reminding you to hydrate. With so many choices available, from coffee to fruit smoothies and orange juice, you may wonder which is your best first morning drink.
Let’s dive into the smartest way to kick off a well-hydrated day.
Many experts point to good old-fashioned water as the best hydrator. Even if you’re a coffee junkie later in morning, begin your day with a tall glass of water. As soon as your feet hit the floor actually. Boston-based registered dietitian Skylar Griggs from Newbury Street Nutrition advocates for warm water as it naturally stimulates the digestive system. Even better, add some fresh lemon juice to boost the flavor and provide a bit of vitamin C to start your day. “Since the body can become dehydrated during sleep, it’s essential to rehydrate first thing in the morning,” she says. “Before having coffee, try to have water or a decaffeinated herbal tea to begin the rehydration process.”
How to supercharge water to maximum hydration in the morning
If the thought of water for breakfast seems so boring that it will send you back to bed, consider fresh or frozen berries, citrus fruit, sliced ginger or chia seeds to make it more appealing. Keep a pitcher on your kitchen counter as a reminder to get sipping once you’re up and at ’em. Drink this before breakfast to help curb food cravings and overeating later in the day.
Lucia Hawley, a functional nutritional therapy practitioner and life coach based in Portland, Oregon, says adding unflavored electrolyte powder or even a pinch of sea salt to just plain water will help your body fully absorb and utilize it more efficiently. Not into drinking regular water in the morning? Sip on a low-sodium vegetable juice or coconut water.
If you’re like most Americans, your drink of choice with breakfast is coffee – an estimated 65% of U.S. adults reach for a cup a joe each morning. It’s the second-most consumed beverage. Water still takes first place. But is sipping coffee a good habit? Java enthusiasts like the lift in energy that comes from a hit of caffeine. It makes us feel less tired and more alert – a personality relocator of sorts. That’s why most people reach for a cup upon rising or soon afterward.
Recent research indicates that you might want to wait at least an hour after waking before you have your morning coffee. When you wake, your cortisol levels are at their peak and don’t begin to decline until later in the morning. It may be a better strategy to drink coffee later when you need that energy boost more. Just watch what you add to your coffee. Those calories from cream and sugar can add up quickly – and give a rush of another sort.
Even more reasons to nix an early morning coffee?
While we’d hate to stand between you and that first sip of coffee, there are good reasons for not chugging it when you first stumble out of bed.
- First, coffee can increase your blood pressure and elevate cortisol levels, which, over long periods of time, have been linked to an impaired immune system.
- Second, caffeine can have a diuretic effect causing you to feel more dehydrated. And even a small amount of dehydration may cause sluggish brain function – not the best state of mind for getting your day off to a good start.
Tea is a better option. It has less caffeine per brewed cup than coffee. Green tea has even less caffeine and boasts plenty of healthy antioxidants as well.
What NOT to drink first thing in the morning
You may think you can kill two birds with one stone by grabbing a smoothie to jumpstart the hydration and serve as a quick breakfast. Grabbing one on your way to work might sound good in theory, but commercially prepared smoothies can be loaded with a ton of processed sugar. Instead, try making your smoothie at home with Greek yogurt and your favorite, unsweetened frozen fruit. Pour it into a simple to-go cup and you’re golden.
Fruit juices can also be dicey choices. While they might seem healthy, they may also be loaded with sugar and calories and very little nutrition. Store-bought orange juice, is highly acidic, has little to offer in the way of vitamins and contains preservatives and stabilizers to maximize shelf life. Even “natural” varieties of orange juice are suspect. In recent years, a series of lawsuits have been brought against orange juice makers challenging the all-natural” labeling. Other types of fruit juices can also be sugar traps, which can be especially problematic for anyone trying to stabilize their blood sugar.
If you’d like to hydrate with any kind of fruit juice, squeeze it yourself or use a home juicer. Even then, a small four-ounce pour is enough – top it up with water for additional hydration. If you’re craving flavor, a healthier option is still tea or naturally flavored water.
But as Hawley cautions, no beverage should be considered forbidden. Everything in moderation, right? “If we restrict food and beverages, we’ll feel much more desire for those now taboo options,” she points out. Go ahead and mix it up a bit. As long as you make hydration a priority each morning, you’ll start your day off right.
How to cut back on your coffee addiction
If coffee is still your beverage of choice, there are ways to limit your intake so it doesn’t affect your health. Instead of going cold turkey, use the tips below to create a roadmap to safer coffee consumption – with minimal withdrawal symptoms.
- Downsize. If you normally order a double XL, order a large instead. Maintain for a few weeks and go down to a medium and eventually a small.
- Hydrate with water. Match your coffee with a glass of water to help your body stay hydrated. Remember, even mild dehydration can lead to headaches and listlessness, which could explain that mid-afternoon hump if you’ve hydrated with coffee all morning.
- Try tea. If you need a caffeine fix mid-afternoon, brew a cup of green tea. Just don’t leave the bag in too long or you’ll be consuming the same level of caffeine.
- Set a caffeine curfew. Cut off coffee consumption at 2 pm to give your body a chance to flush it out of your system by the time you want to sleep.
- Maintain a healthy sleep routine. Going to bed and waking up at the same time will help your brain and body feel more energized(and less desperate for a caffeine fix).
We all have our vices and there’s nothing wrong with coffee – as long as it’s not affecting your health. If your coffee addiction has gotten the better of you, it’s time to get serious and take back control.
Rest well & wake up ready to go!
Better sleep gives rise to better mornings, bringing your goals into focus and dreams within reach. Hungry for more sleep info? Dig into these posts:
- Healthy breakfast recipe hacks
- Our favorite egg breakfast recipes for the whole family
- Easy & delish breakfast smoothie recipes to kick start your day