Hydration is important year round, but especially in the summer months when it prevents our bodies from overheating. Did you know being dehydrated can leave you feeling tired, confused and cranky. Unfortunately, thirst isn’t always a reliable gauge of the body’s need for water, especially in children and older adults. A better indicator is the color of your urine: light-colored urine means you’re well hydrated, whereas a dark yellow or amber color usually signals dehydration. Following up from my Grow with Nutrition blog from a few summers ago, I want to share with you my top three hydration tips for a fun and enjoyable summer.
My Top Three Tips to Stay Hydrated this Summer
1. Eat More Foods with High Water Content
Hydrating in the summer heat keeps your memory sharp and your mood stable. The good news is that you don’t just have to drink to stay hydrated, you can eat too! In my Huffington Post column from last summer, I suggest watermelon, cucumbers and berries as go-to foods to keep you cool and hydrated.
Did you know that all varieties of tomatoes, radishes, salad greens and yogurt can contribute to your fluid intake too? It’s still important to drink plenty of water especially in the summertime, but portable fruits and veggies make refreshing, hydrating no-fuss options.
Aim to have a fresh made salad with greens, tomatoes, radishes, cucumbers and berries at least four times per week. Add a ¾ cup (175 ml) of yogurt daily and enjoy delicious slices of watermelon throughout the summer. When it’s time to hit the camp site, make sure you’re prepared with a cooler full of thirst quenching produce like cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, grapes, melon, berries, and peaches. And remember foods high in water help make you feel fuller longer.
2. Keep Your Beverage Intake Interesting
The eight glasses of water rule is outdated. According to the Institutes of Medicine an adequate daily total intake from all fluids from foods and beverages for men is about 13 cups and for women it’s about 9 cups. However, no single formula fits everyone, your state of health, activity level and age all are factors in determining your individual fluid intake.
Make water more interesting by always having an infuser pitcher with cucumber slices or berries or lemon wedges ready to go in the refrigerator. The fact is that both iced teas and iced coffees in moderation contribute to your overall fluid intake. I love having an iced coffee to start my summer mornings. In my latest Huffington post column How to Brew the Perfect Iced Tea without the Extra Calories, I suggest mixing two or three teas together, like strawberry, rhubarb and green teas or lemon, raspberry and black teas to create a unique iced tea brew. I recommend water as the most convenient and optimal way to hydrate, however I enjoy unsweetened iced tea in the mid-afternoon.
Just remember not to overdo it on caffeinated beverages, because caffeine in excess (anything greater than 400 mg) can be dehydrating. How does that translate when it comes to serving size? No more than three 8 ounce cups (250 ml) per day.
3. Don’t Forget to Hydrate at the Beach and Pool
Who doesn’t love hanging out at the beach or poolside during the summer heat? However, when you’re swimming, even though your body is wet, you still need to hydrate as much as when you are on land. When we swim our body temperature also rises and we sweat. Therefore, we need to hydrate before, during and after hitting the pool, lake and ocean this summer.
Have portable beverages and high water content foods on hand and in the cooler, so you’re prepared to refresh your body and enjoy the lazy hazy days filled with fun summertime activities.
For more tips watch the video when I visited Liza and Jeff of Global Morning to discuss the importance of hydrating in the summer heat. Wishing You Happy and Hydrated Summer!