Beat the Heat: Hydration Tips
By Jane Wynne, Nutrition Volunteer, Meghan Donnelly, Nutrition Volunteer and Lisa Zarny, MS, RD, CD-N, Clinical Nutrition Manager
As the summer is winding down, the weather is still heating up! Since our bodies contain up to 65 percent water, the sunshine, humidity, and heat can cause dehydration and take a toll on our bodies. During these conditions, it’s important to know the signs, symptoms, and treatments for dehydration. By following these tips and tricks, you can feel your best.
1. Listen to your body. Dehydration can show itself in numerous ways. While most people think of dehydration as feeling thirsty or having a dry mouth, it can also cause weakness, dizziness, fatigue, light headedness, headache, increased heart rate, limited or no urination and—in extreme cases—vomiting and diarrhea. If you have been active in a hot environment, are continuously perspiring, and do not feel well, dehydration is most likely the cause.
2. When heat strikes. If you find yourself exhibiting any of the symptoms above, it’s essential to replace fluids and rehydrate the body. When dehydration hits, drink 2 quarts of clear fluids, such as water, juice, or sports drinks, within 2 to 4 hours. It is better to drink small amounts of fluid in frequent intervals. In addition, drinking 10 glasses of liquid a day will replace any lost fluids. In extreme dehydration cases, sports drinks should be avoided in order to prevent diarrhea or stomach upset.
3. Nip dehydration in the bud. The best way to deal with the summer heat is by planning ahead and preventing dehydration. Some easy ways to stay hydrated include: always carrying a water bottle in your bag or car, flavoring water with cucumber or lemon to make it easier to guzzle, and eating fruits and vegetables with high water content. Watermelon and strawberries contain about 92 percent water, while cucumber and lettuce consist of an impressive 96 percent of water. Other fruits and vegetables high in water include grapefruit, cantaloupe, peaches, zucchini, celery, tomato, and spinach. By munching on these healthy foods, your body will stay happy and hydrated!