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Staying Hydrated During The Summer

by Cecilia Ho on in Nutrition

Staying Hydrated During The Summer

Summer is here and that means hot weather and fun in the sun.  As you are out there enjoying the beautiful weather, it is important to make sure you and your family are staying well hydrated.   

Dehydration is a common health concerns during the summer months. What many people don’t realize, is that regardless of the season people generally are not drinking enough water to begin with and are suffering from chronic dehydration. The general rule of thumb of 6-8 glasses is often inadequate.   How much water you should drink each day should be calculated based on your body weight.  You can image a big body builder that weighs 200lbs will have more tissues to hydrate than someone who weighs 120lbs. So the right amount of water intake should be calculated based on your body weight. Below is a formula to help you determine just how much water your body needs. 

Weight (in pounds)/2 then divide by 8 (for 8 oz glass of water) = Ideal Water Intake

Why is hydration so important?   

Second to air, water is the next most vital element that we need to survive. Water makes up about 70-80% of our body. Water is needed for most body functions, and forms the basis of our cells, blood, digestive juices etc. 

 Signs of Chronic Dehydration? 

Most people are familiar with the signs of severe dehydration (which can include extreme thirst, decrease urine output, confusion, rapid heartbeat etc.)  However, chronic dehydration is widespread and the symptoms sometimes may appear seemingly unrelated. 

The following are some common symptoms can be related to the lack of water:

  • Headaches: Chronic headaches can be a sign of dehydration
  • Fatigue, tiredness: Dehydration of the tissues causes enzymatic activity to slow down.
  • Constipation: Water is needed to hydrate the colon and stools.
  • High and low blood pressure: Water makes the basis of the body’s blood volume a lack of water can effect blood pressure.
  • Respiratory issues such as frequent infections: The mucous membranes of the respiratory region are slightly moist to protect the respiratory tract from substances that might be present in inhaled air.
  • Excess weight and obesity: Thirst is often confused with hunger.
  • Urinary tract infections: It is important to make sure you are consuming enough water to dilute toxins including bacteria so that they can be flushed out. 

Tips To Stay Hydrated During The Summer Months and Year Round

Staying hydrated when its hot out is a must, but staying well hydrated everyday is just as important.  The following are tips on how to stay well hydrated regardless of the season: 

  1. Make it a habit- always have water with you. Carry a water bottle with you at all times. At home, in the office, in your car so you won’t forget to drink it.
  2. Increase your fruit intake. Watermelon, pineapple, pear, apples and peaches, many fruits naturally contain water. 
  3. Don’t forget the veggies! Increased consumption of certain vegetables can help keep you hydrated in addition to the obvious benefits of healthy food. Cucumber and celery are excellent hydrators.
  4. Reduce the amount of caffeinated products.  Caffeine is a natural diuretic (promotes the production of urine) and can be found in coffee, tea, and pop. For every cup of coffee, tea or pop consumed be sure to have a glass of water on top. 
  5. Make it flavourful and exciting. Most people complain that water does not have taste and that is why they do not like drinking it.  So add a splash of flavor, but don’t use the water enhancers which are often full of artificial sweeteners and colors. Try adding slices of fruit or herbs to your water eg. lemon, cucumber, mint. 
  6. Use common sense, if your level of activity is high make sure you also rehydrate yourself and increase your water intake accordingly. 
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