Hydration Facts and Recipes for Hot Summer Days
Caroline Loveland Volunteer, Nutrition Services at BIDMC
JUNE 21, 2017
Summer is in full swing, and as the temperatures rise so too does your risk of dehydration. Knowing how to prevent this potentially serious condition is an important part of summer safety. But staying hydrated isn’t always as easy as it seems. For example, did you know thirst isn’t always the first indicator of dehydration? More commonly people feel dizzy or tired before getting thirsty. Here are the facts.
- Causes of dehydration : Dehydration happens when your body loses more fluids than it takes in. If your body loses just one to two percent of its water content, you’ve already started to become dehydrated. Dehydration is categorized as mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the amount of fluid your body is missing. Common causes of dehydration are heat exposure, diarrhea, too much exercise, or not drinking enough water.
- Symptoms of dehydration : Some key signs of mild dehydration are dizziness, headache, cramps, nausea and irritation. Replenishing your body’s fluids can help reverse the course. And that’s important, because severe or chronic dehydration can lead to kidney stones, liver damage and issues with your muscles and joints.
- The importance of hydration : Water is essential. Because the body is made up of mostly water — around 60% — and the proper balance of water determines how well our internal systems function, proper hydration is a must for every-day physical and emotional well-being. Plain and simple, hydration is needed for good health.
Water, Water Everywhere but…
Water is a great go-to when it comes to preventing dehydration. But maintaining a healthy balance of fluids doesn’t have to be boring. Here are some fun refreshment ideas that will satisfy your sweet tooth and keep you hydrated all summer long.
- Summer Berry Smoothie: All you need is one cup of your favorite frozen berry, a banana, a half cup of juice, and a half cup of milk or almond milk. Place these ingredients into a blender, blend until creamy, and enjoy. The sugar, potassium, and minimal amount of sodium from the fruit will help your body absorb more fluids. For an extra health boost, add a couple handfuls of baby spinach. This green leafy veggie is mild enough that its flavor won’t overwhelm you, and you’ll be getting plenty of vitamins, minerals, and cancer-fighting antioxidants.
- Frozen Grapes: Here’s an unlikely refreshment idea: Put some seedless grapes in the freezer for 4-5 hours and you’ve got miniature all-natural popsicles! Grapes contain plenty of water to keep you hydrated. And not only does this frozen treat help regulate your blood sugar and provide you with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory benefits, but it’s delicious too!
- Infused water: For a more decorative beverage that’s sure to please, try adding chopped fruit and veggies to a glass of water. Berries such as diced strawberries can add sweetness to water, while plant-based add-ins like sliced lime, cucumber, and crushed basil or mint can bring a refreshing zing. It’s an easy way of jazzing-up a glass of water you might otherwise pass up.
- Chocolate milk: This indulgent beverage is surprisingly one of the best things you can drink to rehydrate after working out, especially if you’ve been out running or playing tennis in the sun. Chocolate milk has the perfect ratio of sugar, electrolytes, and protein to keep your body energized and well-hydrated. Make sure to buy low fat or fat free chocolate milk to maximize its benefits.