As warmer temperatures heat up the summer nationwide, being prepared for the season’s outdoor activities means more than sunscreen protection and appropriate dress. Health experts state that keeping yourself hydrated by drinking enough water and other beverages when temperatures rise is critical to safely enjoying the fun of the season.
“While we typically put time and thought into what we’ll serve at family barbeques or which foods to bring to the beach or park, we sometimes overlook the need to hydrate throughout the day, particularly on hot summer days,” says registered dietitian Lisa Katic.
“If you feel thirsty or worn down, it’s a sign you’re likely already past the need to re-hydrate,” Katic suggests, and offers three hydration-related tips to remember when packing the cooler for summer outings or enjoying warm weather days:
Bring enough water
Remembering to drink water before, during and after activities is important, but especially when doing outdoor or intense activities in the summer months. Experts with the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association note that water intake improves overall mental and physical health, and improves heart function while reducing both actual and perceived exertion. The Institute of Medicine recommends a total fluid intake of 11 eight-ounce cups (91 ounces total) a day for women and 15 cups for men (125 ounces total), including fluid from all foods and beverages. Katic recommends keeping an extra supply of bottled water in your car, garage, pool and other easily accessible places. Remember, if water isn’t your favorite beverage choice, there are plenty of other beverages to choose from, all of which can help keep you hydrated.
Diet beverages help with hydration
Katic says there are too many myths about diet beverages, such as sodas and teas. For example, you may have heard that they can make you hungrier or dehydrate you. This simply isn’t the case based on the body of science. In fact, a recent clinical trial published in the June issue of the journal “Obesity” found that dieters who drank diet beverages as part of an overall weight loss program were able to not only lose weight successfully, but also reported feeling less hungry.
“The study’s findings were exciting, especially heading into the summer months, because they validate what other studies have shown — that people need not worry about diet beverages undermining their overall eating plans and that they can even aid in weight loss efforts,” says Katic.
Don’t forget foods can hydrate too
“Most people know there are many benefits to eating more fruits and vegetables for overall health,” adds Katic. “But consuming fruits and vegetables higher in water content can also aid in proper hydration.”
Summer snack favorites such as watermelon, strawberries and cantaloupe are fruits with a high water content of 90 to 91 percent, while veggies like lettuce, tomatoes and celery are even higher, containing as much as 95 percent water.
Beyond the heat of summer, Katic says it’s also a good idea to make hydration a part of your everyday life year round. “Staying hydrated also has been shown to reduce the risk of other health problems, such as heart disease, hypertension, exercise asthma and hyperglycemia.”
For more tips on ensuring you and your family stay hydrated while enjoying summertime fun, visit www.eatright.org.