It seemed like summer was never going to come, but then this week, it came with a vengeance!
Yes, the sun is out, the grass is green, and you’re ready to partake in all the fun stuff that you can only do in the summer – picnics, hikes, BBQ’s and festivals …all the things you’ve dreamed about all winter.
But as the mercury rises, you need to pay close attention to one aspect of your health: your hydration.
Our bodies are 60% water, so proper hydration is essential for our overall health. After all, the water we consume optimises our blood pressure, regulates body temperature, lubricates the joints, moves waste out of the body, and aids in digestion. In short, its uber important. And with increased summer temperatures and outdoor activities, comes increased water loss through sweating and evaporation as our bodies try to stay cool.
What If We Don’t Get Enough Water?
Most of us associate dehydration with muscle cramps, fatigue, and extreme thirst. Indeed, these are some of the consequences, but, did you know that dehydration affects your brain as well? Your brain is made up of around 73% water. If you don’t keep up with your water intake, especially in hot weather or while exercising, your thinking and cognition can suffer. In fact, a 2% reduction in body water weight can lead to problems with short-term memory, attention, and visual-motor tracking. So, if you plan to use your noggin at all this summer, you need to keep it well-lubricated.
Other signs that you may be dehydrated include loss of appetite, dry mouth, mild constipation, and temporary light-headedness.
A good measurement of your level of hydration is the colour of your urine. Pale urine indicates adequate hydration while darker coloured urine is a sign that your body needs more fluids, pronto.
Ideas for Happy Hydrating
So, how can you boost your water intake without feeling water-logged or needing to sprint to the bathroom every five minutes?
1. Make sure you drink enough
Recommendations vary depending on weight, age, and activity level, but as a general rule of thumb, you need to drink 8 glasses of water each day. Many experts recommend drinking to thirst—if you are thirsty, drink!
2. Invest in a reusable water bottle
Skip throwaway plastic water bottles and buy a refillable water bottle to help you track your intake each day. If you’re mindful of keeping the bottle nearby, you’ll be much more likely to sip throughout the day.
3. Drink before you eat
We all can relate to that 3pm “must have a snack” hungry feeling. But before reaching for the biscuits, drink some water! Sometimes our brains confuse thirst with hunger, so next time the feeling strikes, hydrate before eating and your hunger “pains” just might disappear.
4. Stick with H2O
Yes, juices, milk, and herbal teas can all help hydrate your body—even caffeinated drinks (in moderation) can provide you with much-needed water. However, water is what your body is really craving, so you might as well go straight to the source.
5. Eat your way to hydration
The good news is that only 70-80% of your daily hydration needs to come from water. 20-30% should come from food! All fruits and vegetables contain some water, but these foods are a great the best options for hydration:
Cucumber (97% water)
Celery (96% water)
Tomatoes (95% water)
Watermelon (92% water)
Spinach & strawberries (91% water)
Water is the elixir of life
As you experience all the wonderful things that come with the warm weather, remember to drink plenty of water and eat a diet rich in hydrating fruits and vegetables to keep you going strong all summer long. Your body and mind will thank you.