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Acquire: Hydration Baby

I know, I know. That hydration is good for the voice (and optimal health) surprises no one. Still, I find many people have no understanding of the best ways to achieve it short of drinking more water. How much water? How often?

I decided to dig a bit and get to the thirsty. Some of this knowledge was new to me but now that I’ve vetted it through medical professionals I trust with my own voice and put it into practice, I’m putting it out here.

See: The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 103, Issue 3, March 2016, Pages 717–723, 23 December 2015

Also: The Cleveland Clinic regularly studies hydration and has some interesting findings. Including that clear urine may be a sign of over-hydration at that moment, telling us little about the state of hydration overall.

First, even mild dehydration hinders physical function, especially mental acuity. So no, you can’t really ignore this and be at peak efficiency.

How much? People should consume 91-125 ounces of water per day from multiple sources to aid in absorption. So here is the important point: you should be drinking small amounts of water (Or other non-sugar or alcohol beverage) all day, consuming water-rich foods all day, and replacing any hydration you lose by sweating with electrolyte-rich hydration (to keep sodium in balance).

This means if you pound a glass of water because you are thirsty, you might not get to keep that water for long. Water is absorbed best in small doses before or during a meal because simple nutrients (amino acids, fats, minerals) aid retention. So eating a piece of fruit such as an apple or orange with 4 ounces of water drunk slowly is the thing. If you exercise often, an electrolyte-rich food or beverage is going to be your best path to hydration, especially immediately after your workout.

Here is a short list of water-rich foods:

  1. Most fruits and vegetables especially watermelon, cucumber, strawberry, green leafy vegetables, and oranges. No surprises here.
  2. Skim milk (or Nut milks). The nutrient balance helps with retaining hydration.
  3. Eat soup.
  4. Yogurt (can be non-dairy).

Gina Razón is the principal voice specialist at GROW Voice LLC, a full-service voice and speech studio in Boston’s Back Bay.  She has over 16 years of experience both as a teacher of voice and speech, and a voraciously curious voice user.  Gina has worked professionally as a classical singer for over a decade and more recently as a professional public speaker.  For more information on the studio or to book Gina visit