Saturday, July 2, 2011

stay well-hydrated for summer

Water | photo:  Suat Eman
With summer just around the corner and temperatures rising it's important to stay well-hydrated during the summer months. Most of us don't drink enough water in the first place, add in the higher temperatures and more outdoor activity, it all adds up to sweating more, leading to more fluid loss and potential dehydration. Dehydration can cause a large number of physical problems from headaches and migraines, to constipation to deep fatigue or loss of energy.
Before you reach for that cheap 54-oz Big Gulp think about what your body needs in terms of hydration. It certainly doesn't need all that sugar. An 8-oz can of Sprite claims that it has 26 g of sugar, multiplied by 6.75 to equal a 54-oz drink, that comes to 175.5 g of sugar, not to mention all those chemicals. If you're drinking sugar-free, you are taking in even more chemicals; caffeinated sodas would deliver a jolting 155 mg of caffeine.
Choose refreshing drink choices that are actually good for you. Here are a few suggestions:
  • Water – always good, water is exactly what your body needs. For a refreshing change to plain water add a slice of citrus to your water. For a cool and cleansing taste try slices of peeled cucumber or even a sprig of mint.
  • Iced tea – although tea does have caffeine if you make your iced teas with green tea you'll be getting less caffeine over all. Or you can use herbal teas which have no caffeine and are very refreshing and enjoyable.
  • Spritzers – adding your favorite juice to cool seltzer water with some ice and perhaps a slice of fresh fruit can be a great way to stay hydrated. The usual proportions are 50% juice 50% seltzer. Just be sure to choose juices that are 100% juice, no additives, no preservatives, no colors.  If you are using concentrated juice you will need to adjust the proportions to your preference.
  • Agua fresca – these cool and tasty drinks, originally from Mexico, are made by taking blended fresh fruit, usually melons, and combining them with water, sugar, and a splash of lime juice. Because there is sugar, with both the fresh fruit and the added sugar, these should be consumed in moderation.  There is a delicious recipe posted below.
  • Lemonade or limeade – made with citrus juice, water and sugar this can be very satisfying and cooling. If you make it yourself you control how much sugar is in it.  There are a wide number of tasty recipes available online.

Strawberry Watermelon Agua Fresca | photo Marie the Bee
Agua Fresca
  • 3 cups of melon (cantaloupe, watermelon, honeydew, etc), seeded, peeled and diced
  • 1 1/2 cups cold water
  • 2 tablespoons evaporated cane juice crystals
  • juice of 1-2 limes

  • Blend melon to a pulp in the blender
  • Strain pulp to remove fibers
  • In a pitcher mix together water and sugar until sugar crystals dissolve
  • Add melon juice
  • Add lime juice to taste
  • Serve over ice

It is important to remember that alcohol is a diuretic; this means you loose more body fluids when you drink it. So even though after spending the day in the hot summer sun that beer, wine cooler, or mixed drink seems cool and refreshing, it won't help you stay healthy, hydrated and refreshed.
*this article has been modified from it's original content originally published online at my Houston Holistic Health Examiner column.  

1 comment:

Robin said...

Thanks, Mira. The weather here has been unseasonably hot, so I put "Drink Water" on my to-do list every morning. A little compulsive, but it seems to be working. :-)