Staying Hydrated This Summer
Staying hydrated this summer
We’re in the heat of summer, and whether you enjoy this or not, staying hydrated is very important in these hot months! You may have heard that our bodies are about 60% water. You may have also heard that you should drink eight glasses of water a day. Now, there is actually little scientific evidence behind this rule, because everybody has different hydration needs that may differ day-to-day. When your body water content goes below a certain level, thirst kicks in. For the majority of people, there probably isn’t any need to worry about water intake. The thirst instinct is very reliable (source). It is especially important to pay attention to your thirst cues if you are doing summer activities that can leave you sweating! Your water need also increases during breastfeeding, or if you’re sick with vomiting or diarrhea. Elderly people may need to consciously watch their water intake because the thirst mechanisms can start to malfunction as we get older (source). Some studies show that mild dehydration (1–3% of body weight) caused by exercise or heat can harm many other aspects of brain function. (Click here for study links: 1, 2, 3). Pay attention to these signs of dehydration (source) :
Infant or young child
Dry mouth and tongue
No tears when crying
No wet diapers for three hours
Sunken eyes, cheeks
Sunken soft spot on top of skull
Listlessness or irritability
Less frequent urination
Feelin’ thirsty? Water you gonna do about it?
Daily water recommendations include not only the fluids you drink, but water from fruits, vegetables, soups, popsicles, and dairy products like ice cream and yogurt. Even coffee and tea can help maintain your fluid balance; it is a myth that they dehydrate you because their diuretic effect is actually quite weak, to a point (source). There are some quantitative guidelines for how much fluid we need in a day (ask your doctor or dietitian), but as we’ve said it can vary greatly by individual. For kids, it can be tough to keep them hydrated, especially when they are too young to tell you they are thirsty. Here are some guidelines:
1-3 year-olds: 3.5 cups per day
4-8 year-olds: 5 cups per day
9-13 year-old girls: 6.5 cups per day
9-13 year-old boys: 7 cups per day
For teens and adults, try experimenting to see what works best for you. Some people may feel better with more water than usual, while for others it only results in more trips to the bathroom. If you want to keep things simple, these guidelines should apply to the majority of people:
When you’re thirsty, drink.
When you’re not thirsty anymore, stop.
During high heat and exercise, make sure to drink enough to compensate for the lost fluids.
Click here for more information on the benefits of water, and evidence on some claims about water’s effect on metabolism, and constipation.
Yummy summer hydrations ideas
Eat water-rich foods such as watermelon and cantaloupe, strawberries, peaches, oranges, cucumber, lettuce, broths and soups, zucchini, celery, yogurt, tomatoes, and more!
Drink carbonated or flavoured water if you don’t like plain water – there are many options that are sugar-free and naturally flavoured. There may even be some benefits of drinking carbonated water such as helping to improve digestion and constipation 7.
Try fruit-infused water (be sure to rinse your produce well beforehand). Cut up and put these in your glass or pitcher:
Strawberry, lemon, and basil
Watermelon and mint
Lime and cucumber
Blueberry and lavender
Make your own popsicles! You’ll need a Popsicle mold, or some small paper cups and popsicle sticks. These recipes are from www.jessicagavin.com:
Peach Strawberry Yogurt Popsicles
3 cups strawberries, pureed to 1 1/2 cup
3 cups peaches, peeled and sliced, pureed to 1 1/2 cup
2 tablespoons honey, divided
2/3 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
In a blender, puree strawberries with four teaspoons honey then set aside. Clean blender, puree sliced peaches with two teaspoons, honey, set aside.
Layer the popsicles as follows; 2 teaspoons strawberry puree, one teaspoon yogurt, two teaspoons mango puree and repeat. Make a fruit puree your last layer.
Tap the mold on the counter to make sure all of the layers settle. Use a small spoon to drag vertically from the bottom to the top of the mold a few times to create a swirled pattern.
Blackberry Lemon Popsicles
2/3 cup lemon juice, plus zest from lemons
2 1/2 cups vanilla Greek yogurt
2 1/2 cups blackberries
2 1/2 cup mixed berry Greek yogurt
In a medium-sized bowl whisk together lemon juice, zest, and vanilla yogurt, set aside.
Puree blackberries and mixed berry yogurt, set aside.
Layer the popsicles as follows; 1 tablespoon lemon, 1 tablespoon blackberry, repeat. Swirl layers if desired.
Gently tap the molds on the countertop to remove any air bubbles. Insert the popsicle sticks, and then freeze for at least 6 hours, or overnight.
Which ideas are you going to try? As always, you can come see your friendly LGCFHT dietitians for more information about hydration, and more ideas on how to drink more water! Stay cool!