How to Prevent Dehydration

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 water, but 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.