Six tips for staying hydrated this summer
Staying hydrated during the summer can be one of the easiest things to do, but it can also be one of the hardest. The heat may prompt you to drink more to stay cool, but it also causes you to sweat and require more fluid to stay hydrated. Deborah Hutcheon, RD, explained why hydration is important and offered some helpful tips.
Keeping your body hydrated is important for a variety of reasons, such as:
- Boosting energy levels
- Weight loss and weight maintenance
- Healthy skin, muscles, joints and blood
- Healthy brain and clear thinking
How do you know if your body is dehydrated?
Dry mouth and thirst are some of the first signs of dehydration. Other signs include:
- Feeling more tired than usual
- A headache
- Difficulty thinking
“Don’t wait to increase your fluid intake until you are thirsty. Prevent thirst in the first place by sipping on fluids throughout the day,” said Hutcheon.
What fluids are best to keep your body hydrated?
Avoid fluids that contain sugar, caffeine, carbonation (bubbles or fizziness), or alcohol, which will dehydrate the body. Plain water is always best! But if you need some variety, try adding a sugar-free water flavor such a Crystal Light, drinking a sugar-free flavored water such as Hint, or using decaffeinated coffee or tea (just limit to 16 fluid ounces per day). Sugar-free sports drinks such as Gatorade Zero, Powerade Zero, or Propel are also options. Or treat yourself to sugar-free popsicles or sugar-free gelatin. These foods actually count as fluid since they melt in your mouth and turn to liquid.
How much fluid do you need?
The body needs at least 48 ounces of fluid per day to prevent basic dehydration. For improved health and well-being, especially during the heat of the summer, that amount increases to 80 ounces of fluid per day, or five 16-ounce bottles of water. Sound like a lot? Here are some tips to help you reach this goal:
- Spread your fluid intake throughout the day by setting realistic goals. Try drinking 6 to 8 ounces of fluid per hour.
- Set reminders on your cell phone or work calendar.
- Buy a motivational water bottle that sets the goals for you and helps you keep track of how much fluid you drink each hour and throughout the day.
- Bring a water bottle or tumbler with you during the day.
- Add ice or freeze your beverages to a slushie consistency.
- Add fresh mint or cucumber slices to your water for a refreshing drink.
Enjoy the summer and stay refreshed by drinking plenty of fluid. Your body will thank you.
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