It's always important to stay hydrated, but even MORE critical in the heat of summertime. Your body is comprised of around 60%water and just about every system in the body needs it to function. And believe it or not, drinking water and sports drinks are not the ONLY ways to stay hydrated! There are in fact foods that replenish our fluids while simultaneously providing us with the nutrition our bodies need to thrive, and in the high temperatures we've had lately, it's important to know which options these are! I cover these briefly in the TV segment from WCCO news and provide you more details below on foods that hydrate, dehydrate and hydration for activity, including my opinion on sports drinks.
1) Fruits and vegetables. Believe it or not, they can have up to 90%water content! Seasonal summer fruits including watermelon, strawberries, oranges, melons, grapes, apples, grapefruit and blueberries AND vegetables including cucumber, carrots, celery, zucchini, green peppers and peas. Yet another reason why it's beneficial to include fruits and vegetables at every meal and snack!
2) Iced tea and coffee. Despite the popular myth that tea and coffee are dehydrating, they're not and can contribute to meeting your fluid needs, as LONG as you're not OD-ing on caffeine by drinking 5 to 7 cups per day and drinking your coffee black. (The sugar in the fancy coffee shop drinks can dehydrate you.)
Speaking of dehydration, let's check out which foods dehydrate us:
1) Foods high in sugar and processed foods. Examples include donuts, muffins, candy bars, ice cream and even whole grains like bread, pasta and rice are all dehydrating. This is because to break down sugar, the body uses a lot of water. As I said in the video, yet another reason why it's smart to get your carbohydrates from veggies and fruit!
2) Alcohol. When you're sipping those mimosas on the beach this summer, make sure you're drinking a cup or two of water for each drink you're tipping back. Sound like overkill? Then don't be surprised when you're feeling susceptible to dehydration. You heard it here first!
Hydration and Activity: If you're active in the summer, it's even more critical to be mindful of hydration because you're losing more fluid through sweat. You can lose 2-3 liters of water per hour! It's important to hydrate before, during and after exercise. My rule of thumb is to weigh yourself before and after activity, and drink 2 cups of water for every pound lost. Your urine color can also be an indicator of hydration status. You want the color of your urine to match the color of lemonade. More of an apple juice color points to hydration.
My thoughts on sports drinks: There can be a time and place for sports drinks, but I don't think that time and place is simply in hot weather. It's healthier and more effective to hydrate with plain water, or sparkling water beverages (such as La Croix, Perrier or San Pellegrino brands that contain no sugar or artificial sweeteners). Remember, sugar has a dehydrating effect. Drink water, eat your veggies and fruits and take a multivitamin to ensure you're meeting your vitamin and mineral needs. If you enjoy flavored water you can mix some flavored Dynamic Greens, a fruit and vegetable powder, into iced water instead of using sugary or artificially sweetened drinks. Kids and adults alike love this option. It's loaded with antioxidants and since it's sweetened with stevia (a natural plant based sweetener), it doesn't contain the unnecessary sugar calories that come from sports drinks.The only time I personally drink sugary sports drinks is when I'm running half or full marathon distances. In these situations, it can be important to replenish your body with the electrolytes it needs and because you're burning so much sugar, the sugar can actually enhance your performance. My favorite electrolyte drink is Endura because it provides all of your essential electrolytes without the dyes, artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohol that many popular sports drinks contain.
I hope this helps you understand the various ways to hydrate and a hot day like today is the perfect day to begin implementing these new strategies! As always, contact me with any questions or individualized recommendations.