Hydration During the Heat
August 04, 2016
by Kristy Heussner, MS, RDN, LD/CCMH Director of Nutritional Services
Keeping your body hydrated is very important, but during the hot summer months, it is even more essential. In high temperatures, we lose more water than normal through sweating. If you are participating in activities in the heat (working, exercising, or playing sports), your water needs are even greater. Water is the largest, single component of the body, comprising 55-78% of the human body, depending on size. Water is essential for every bodily function, including digestion, absorption, circulation, secretion, regulation of body temperature, and metabolism. What this really means is your body runs better when it is properly hydrated.
Water is not stored in the body, so we need to drink water every day. How much do we need? Eight to ten 8-oz glasses of water for most adults is recommended to meet your body’s needs, but more may be needed if you are outside in the Missouri July heat.
Now that we know we need it, how do we get water in our diet? Good, old-fashioned water is best for hydration as it moves quickly through your body to hydrate your tissues.
1. Keep a water bottle with you at all times. This allows you to drink water any time you feel thirst or just as you think about drinking to prevent dehydration.
2. Make water more interesting my chopping fruits into large pieces and putting them into water in a pitcher overnight. This allows the flavor of the fruit to infuse into the water, making it a cold, refreshing, flavored drink on a hot day. Try different combinations to keep your taste buds interested. One of my favorites is kiwi/strawberry, but grapes (cut up), pineapple, and orange segments can be used also. There are many infusion pitchers and water bottles available, but are not necessary to make your own flavored water.
3. Foods like grapefruit, lettuce, watermelon, broccoli, and low-fat milk and yogurt are about 85-95% water and can also help you stay hydrated.
One last note, alcohol and caffeine (found in most sodas) are mild diuretics, increasing fluid output, which can lead to dehydration. So, for every one of these drinks, it’s a good idea to drink a glass of water. Enjoy your summer!
Berry, Peach, and Coconut Water
1 cup blueberries
1 cup blackberries
1 peach, pitted and cut into wedges
2 cups unsweetened coconut water
6 cups water
1 gallon pitcher
Place blueberries and blackberries into the bottom of the pitcher, then the peach slices on top.
Pour the water and coconut water into the jar.
Stir the water, cover with a lid and put water into the refrigerator for at least one hour or overnight for the best flavor.
Drink within two days. Makes 64 ounces