Hope you’re all doing well!
It’s officially summer and the heat is soaring in many parts of the world including my own city. For many, summer is a time for relaxing, enjoying the warmer weather, and having fun in the sun. However, with all of this fun comes the danger of dehydration from the intense heat.
I have to admit that for the longest time I had a false sense of confidence that I would never become dehydrated. Recently, however, I learned my lesson the hard way and this inspired me to do some research and write this post for you so hopefully you can all stay hydrated and healthy this summer.
According to the Mayo Clinic the following are some of the signs of dehydration in adults:
- Extreme thirst
- Urinating less frequently
- Dark colored urine
Here are some tips for staying hydrated this summer:
I know this one is very obvious but many of us simply forget to drink water and this can lead to trouble. If you’re out and about throughout the day it might be a good idea to carry a bottle with you preferably a BPA free bottle.
Its best to drink water before we get thirsty because by the time we’re thirsty we are already at an increased risk for dehydration. According to the Institute of Medicine the average female should drink about 11 cups of water each day and the average male should drink about 16 cups of water each day. Of course, this is just an average estimate and this will vary on many factors such as your body type, how active you are, and how hot is it outside. This estimate also includes other sources of water including tea or coffee, and the water that is in the foods that we eat.
I know that this might sound a little gross but one of the ways that you can make sure that you are properly hydrated is to look at the toilet the next time you urinate. The color should be a pale yellow.
As with all other good things in life, too much water is not a good thing. Drinking too much water is dangerous and can lead to water intoxication. Also, drinking too much water causes you to lose sodium at a faster rate than your body can replenish and this can lead to hypothermia.
Exercise with Caution:
Exercise has countless benefits for our physical and mental health and well-being. However, in the summer it is especially important to stay hydrated while you are exercising. Some experts point out that during a workout session we can lose up to four pounds of fluid before we feel thirsty. This is why its recommended that we should drink about half a cup of water 15 minutes before starting to exercise then continue to repeat this every 15 minutes during the workout session and then once more after we’ve finished the workout session.
During a particularly intensive workout session water may not be enough to keep us hydrated. This is because when we sweat a lot our body loses electrolytes. Electrolytes are minerals that are found in our blood and they help regulate the amount of water in the body and they help transmit nerve signals to our muscles. Drinking sports drinks such as Gatorade and Powerade can rehydrate our body and replenish the electrolytes that we may have lost.
Coconut water is a possible natural alternative to sports drinks. Coconut water has electrolytes such as sodium, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorous. Coconut water is a fairly low calorie drink, it has between 60 to 90 calories. During extremely intensive workouts sports drinks may be your best option. However, these drinks are high in glucose and sodium so if you have diabetes or high blood pressure it is best to talk to your doctor before taking these sports drinks.
While exercising, its good to push ourselves a bit, however, it is vital that we know our limits and we stop before we have reached a certain point. If your muscles feel very tired and/or you feel dizzy then it is definitely time to stop or take a break to hydrate yourself. Muscle fatigue and laziness are signs of dehydration and need to be taken seriously.
Eat Your Fruits and Veggies
According to the National Institute of Health about 20 percent of our daily water intake comes from the food that we eat. During these hot days it is it is vital that we include and/or increase the amount of fruits and veggies in our diets because they contain electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Fruits and vegetables have a high water content. Here are the fruits with the highest water content:
- Strawberry (92 percent water)
- Watermelon (92 percent water)
- Cantaloupe (90 percent water)
- Peaches (88 percent water)
- Pineapples (87 percent water)
- Oranges (87 percent water)
Note: Bananas and dates should also be consumed because they contain potassium.
Here are the veggies with the highest water content:
- Cucumbers (96 percent water)
- Lettuce (96 percent water)
- Celery (95 percent water)
- Radishes (95 percent water)
- Tomatoes (94 percent water)
- Cauliflower (92 percent water)
- Bell Peppers (92 percent water)
- Spinach (92 percent water)
Of course fruits and vegetables should be consumed in moderation. Fruits are high in sugar. Also, those people that are on a blood thinning medication such as Warfarin should be careful because some fruits are blood thinning and some vegetables are high in Vitamin K.
Bonus tip: Try adding some sea salt to your food. Sea salt not only adds flavor but it is also has sodium and potassium which can help you stay hydrated.
I hope you found these tips to be helpful in keeping you hydrated this summer!