We all think about the foods our body needs to be happy and healthy – proteins, green vegetables, fresh fruits – but we sometimes forget to consume enough of the most import nutrient of all, water.
As summer comes on and we have fine weather to hike, exercise and play in, doctors and dieticians say we need to be particularly mindful to stay hydrated. In the simplest terms, that means drinking enough water to keep your body going. A healthy body is comprised of two-thirds water, with muscles containing 75 percent and blood 90 percent.
Water is you body’s lifeblood, supplying nutrients, removing waste, circulating blood and maintaining a constant temperature. To keep yourself in hot-weather shape, experts recommend:
- drinking water before you get thirsty. This can also be a weight-loss aid because you can confuse hunger with thirst.
- weighing yourself before and after exercise to see how much water weight you lose. You’re dehydrated if you lose more than 1 percent of your body weight.
- monitoring the color of your urine. It should be pale yellow. Anything darker means you need to drink more.
- eating water-laden snacks like yogurt, grapes, melon, salad and vegetable juices.
- eschewing sweet drinks and making water your beverage of choice.
Dietician Sheryl Locicki offers a homemade version of popular sports drinks to help keep you hydrated, especially after exercise. Dissolve ¼ cup sugar and ¼ teaspoon salt in ¼ cup hot water. Combine with 2 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice, ¼ cup orange juice and 3 cups cold water.
Check out GFPs suggested fluid consumption. Spoiler alert:
- You should be drinking your body weight in pounds divided by 2 = # of ounces of fluid per day (i.e., if you weigh 130 lbs, you should consume 65 ounces of water/day).
- Drink 2 C. of water for every cup of caffeinated drink (which are diuretics and serve to dehydrate you).
- Drink an additional 32 ounces of water for every hour of sustained exercise.
Stay healthy. Drink water this summer.
Small caveat: Athletes and coaches need to be aware of risks associated with "forced hydration" practices. Especially during summer sports training camps. Drink only when thirsty to avoid water intoxication. Consuming excess fluids can lead to perilous drops in sodium levels.
Sources: WZZM13.com/take5, Katherine Tallmadge of the Huffington Post