After becoming paralyzed, one of the most common things you'll hear from the nurses and doctors that care for you is to drink more water. You will hear it so often that it may even get a little bit old. The recommended daily amount of fluid a person with a spinal cord injury should drink is 1.5 liters, which is roughly 6.3 cups.
Some feel that is a lot of water to drink, while others think that is barely scratching the surface. Whatever your water preference, the fact is simple- water is a must after a spinal cord injury. It prevents a whole host of secondary issues that can come after an SCI about urinary tract infections, kidney and bladder stones, constipation, and pressure sores.
If you drink the recommended amount of water each day you can and will prevent many of these secondary issues. The only problem is that drinking the right amount of water can be very difficult for some. Some find it impossible to do. Is water the only solution or are there other fluids that could work?
The truth is there are not many alternatives to water, but some do exist. There are ways to make water more palatable as well. If you are struggling to drink the recommended 1.5 liters of water per day, we hope our advice below can help you reach your recommended daily fluids.
When lightly brewed, any kind of tea as long as it is not caffeinated can be a decent alternative to water. Sun tea and green tea are particularly healthy. Avoid adding sugar to your tea as well to make it as clean as possible. An easy way to get your tea ready for the day is to brew it overnight in a pitcher so that it is ready to go the next day.
It may sound strange but drinking broth hot or cold can be a great way to hydrate. Make sure you drink one that is low in sodium. Not only do low-sodium broths deliciously hydrate you, and they also have collagen, which is a protein from the animal. This is good for all of your organs, skin, and bones, and joints, which is great when you have a spinal cord injury.
Athletes drink copious amounts of Gatorade for good reason - it helps hydrate them and it contains electrolytes which are great if you are overheating or if you want to boost your immune system. Electrolytes are essential to the body working at peak performance. And the best part about Gatorade is that it tastes great.
It is sugar-free as well.
Found at most stores nowadays, coconut water, tastes just like coconut and it has electrolytes. This is a great-tasting way to get your water each day. Just make sure to drink the coconut water that has no sugar. Aloe water is an option as well.
Club soda mixed with 1/4 cup of 100% fruit juice can be an OK alternative to water, just make sure to account for the calories you are adding to your diet with the fruit juice.
Fruit-Infused Water: If you go to a spa, you'll find "spa water," which is water infused with citrus, usually lemon and orange or cucumber. Berries also work well. This citrus-infused water is a great way to make water taste better without adding anything bad, like sodium or sugar. You can also add herbs to make it more interesting, such as basil or mint. To make citrus-infused water, add the fruit to the water and let it sit. A Mason jar or water bottle works great for mixing.
Water Flavoring: From Crystal Light to Mio, there are several water flavorings available that are sugar-free. If you're worried about natural ingredients, this may not be the way to go, but it does offer a fantastic way to flavor your water without adding any calories or sodium. Many of these water flavorings can also contain vitamins.
Remember, you can drink too much water in a day which is called water intoxication. This flushes out the sodium in your body and cake make you dizzy/pass out. Always make sure to eat a little bit of food each day when drinking extra amounts of water.