During the hot days of summer you may be sweating without even trying. These are usually the times when people grab cold beverages, which is great. Your body is about 60% water and during summer months you will lose more water through sweating and moisture in your breath than usual. You can lose half a liter of water per hour just through sweating; exercising can double or triple that rate. Symptoms of dehydration include: feeling tired or sleepy, fatigue, headache, constipation, lightheadedness, increased thirst, as well as dry mouth and skin.
Staying hydrated shouldn’t be a chore. Check out these ideas to beat the summer heat.
- Get a decorative water bottle – Nowadays there are a variety of glass and BPA-free water bottles with decorative designs, carrying holds, and different spouts. You are more likely to carry one with you and keep it handy if you like the look of it.
- Try spa water – Add 2-3 slices of fresh cucumber or a lemon or lime wedge to your glass of water. The water will get a subtle infusion of citrus or cucumber for a refreshing taste.
- Make sun tea – Nothing says summer like sun tea. You’ll need 2-3 tea bags (any tea you prefer is great) and a large jar (at least 1 quart or 32 fluid ounces) with a lid. Fill the jar with water. You can cut the strings off the tea bags if you prefer and drop the tea bags into the water. Seal the jar up tight. Place the jar in direct sunlight (typically done outside but a sunny window will do too) and leave it for 24-48 hours. Once the tea has brewed you can stick the jar in the refrigerator to cool it down or pour your sun tea over ice and enjoy. I would recommend sweetening it to taste after you pour a glass of the brewed tea to moderate the added sugar.
- Eat fruits and vegetables with high water content – For your afternoon snack grab a pick-me-up of cucumber sticks and celery, a bunch of grapes, or a few slices of watermelon. These fruits and vegetables have high water content and are great for getting more water without just drinking it.
- Make fruit ice – Literally, make ice that has fruit in it. Place cut pieces of stone fruit like apricots and peaches or berries in the spaces of an empty ice tray. Fill the ice tray with water and place it in the freezer. When you are ready for a cool glass of water toss in a few fruit ice cubes, they look decorative in the glass and flavor your water too!
- Make some popsicles – If you don’t have Popsicle molds there are some fun and interesting designs out there that would be a great addition to any kitchen. Make the popsicles with fruit and water or coconut water - try to cut the added sugar in half to make it a healthier sweet treat.
- Create smoothies using water or coconut water – be mindful of calories. Use fresh or frozen (no added sugar) produce, a touch of sweetener if needed (try honey or agave nectar), some chia seeds (great source of Omega-3 fatty acids), and protein powder if you want. Smoothies tend to have calories similar to that of a meal and are a great way to boost your daily fluid intake.
- Electrolyte replacement drinks – Sports drinks like Gatorade or electrolyte replacement drinks like Pedialyte are great choices to rehydrate after an activity where you sweat a lot. But be careful of too much of a good thing. Reaching for sports drinks instead of water to sip on throughout the day will result in more calories and added sugars and sodium that your body may not actually need.
Beating the summer heat and staying well hydrated doesn’t have to be boring or a big hassle. Enjoy mixing and matching some of the ideas above to stay well hydrated and energized through the summer.