Everyone knows that staying hydrated is incredibly important to your health.
Water is a major part of the body’s functions, participating in
nearly every process. It’s present in the muscles, the bones, the
fat, the brain, and all other major organs and systems. Water cushion
joints, regulates metabolism, and allows for healthy digestion. It helps
your body clean out poisons and maintain a healthy temperature. Water’s
presence in your body extends to every single cell inside of you, making
up between 55%-70% of your body’s mass.
During the hot summer months, dehydration becomes far more common. People
lose water far more quickly through sweating, physical activity, and simply
maintaining temperature balance during the summer. Waiting until you’re
thirsty is not a good way to stay hydrated, as thirst is a symptom that
appears when you’re
already slightly dehydrated. Granted, thirst is a fairly innocuous symptom, and it’s usually
not an emergency if you’re a bit thirsty. However, for young children
and older adults, staying hydrated is far more crucial, so be sure to
keep that in mind.
The best practice for staying hydrated is to continually drink water throughout
the day, keeping a water bottle handy at all times. However, there are
plenty of fun ways to enjoy the summer while ensuring that your body is
maintaining good fluid levels.
Food Is a Great Source of Water
While most people will advise you to have 8 glasses of water a day (or
120 ounces or 3 ½ liters, depending on the source), what most people
don’t realize is that 20% of daily water intake is supposed to come
from our food! Fruit and vegetables are the healthiest alternatives to
coffee, popsicles, and sodas can also serve as sources of water (albeit with
high sugar content).
Here are some great sources of water that are also delicious on a hot summer day:
- Watermelon (91.5% water)
- Celery (95.4% water)
- Tomatoes, including cherry and grape tomatoes (94.5% water)
- Cantaloupe (90%)
- Cucumber (96.7% water)
- Strawberries (91% water)
- Grapefruit (90% water)
Other Ways to Stay Hydrated
One of the biggest risks to hydration in summer is loss of sweat. Effective
fluid recovery will help keep your body from rapidly losing water, causing
dehydration symptoms like dizziness, lightheadedness, or headaches. Through
preventing sweat loss or offsetting it through recovery, you can ensure
that the heat won’t keep you down. One of the most basic ways of
preventing sweat loss is by wearing a single layer of thin, light-colored
clothing when you’re out in the sun. There are also great treats
that help your body recover much-needed minerals and fluids quickly.
Drink Sports Drinks, Milk, or Chocolate Milk
When you sweat, your body loses electrolytes in addition to water. Electrolytes
are minerals that help regulate the levels of water in your body, so they’re
important. Sports drinks contain sodium and other electrolytes that the
body needs, but they tend to contain a lot of sugars as well. If you don’t
mind the calories, sports drinks are actually preferable to water when
it comes to quick restoration of the body’s electrolyte levels after
a lot of sweating.
For a healthier (albeit less common) alternative, drinking skim milk can
restore a lot of your body’s needed minerals while providing nearly
identical hydration to water. If you’ve just spent a great deal
of time outside exercising, your body may need the extra protein that
milk provides as well. When it comes to recovery,
chocolate milk is both a treat and a good food for providing a lot of protein, minerals,
and water. While higher in calories, it offers athletes and active vacationers
an easy, delicious way to stay safe in the sun.
While staying hydrated is a crucial, necessary part of summer life, it
doesn’t have to be a chore!
This article contains general information about medical conditions and
treatments. The information is not advice and should not be treated as
such. The information is not intended to replace the advice or diagnosis
of a physician.
If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should
consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.