Healthy Lodi Initiative: Staying hydrated in the summer heat

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Summer is here and it’s time to remember that adequate hydration is critical to staying well during these very hot days. Not only do we need to drink plenty of fluids, we should be eating fruits and vegetables that provide needed water.

Staying ahead of your thirst is the best way to make sure your body’s getting the fluid it needs. Once you feel thirsty, you’re already slightly dehydrated. Because the body is 70% to 80% water, it stands to reason that water is a daily, life-needed nutrient — summer or winter.

Some common signs of mild dehydration are lack of energy, mild headache, muscle cramps and lack of mental clarity. Adequate hydration is essential for muscle performance and endurance. Always have at least 16 ounces of fluids in your body an hour before starting out on a hike, run or physical activity, and drink throughout your activity.

If you feel tired all the time, pay attention to how much fluid you consume; it maybe a symptom of mild dehydration. Try using a measured water bottle or have some way to add up just how much you do drink in a day. Most adults will need at least 64 ounces over the course of the day.

A general recommendation is to drink about 50% of your body weight in ounces (for example, drink 75 ounces of water daily if you weight 150 pounds). If you eat the recommended 3 to 4 cups of produce daily, you can count that as 32 ounces of your daily goal.

Water is best. Here are some ways to change up the flavor if you’re not a big fan of plain water:

  • Fill a large pitcher with water and store in the refrigerator to keep it cold. Try adding slices of cucumber, lemon, lime, orange, melon, a few berries, fresh ginger or mint leaves. All of these impart a nice flavor to the water.
  • Make iced tea with flavored herbal tea blends such as apple/cinnamon, lemon, vanilla chai, etc. to add variety.
  • Try mixing 1 to 2 ounces of fruit juice with 10 to 14 ounces of water.
  • Make ice cubes with 100% juice, and drop one of those along with plain ice cubes to a tall tumbler of water to offer some flavor.

Fruits and vegetables are full of water and we should eat plenty every day. Some of those highest in water content are melons, strawberries, oranges and grapefruit, peaches, tomatoes, celery, cucumber, lettuce, peppers of all kinds, radishes, cabbage, summer squash and spinach, to name a few. Not only will you get the fluid credit, but the vital nutrients, antioxidants and phytochemicals that the produce provides.

On these hot days, it’s good to stay cool and be well-hydrated and well-nourished. These ideas can help you rethink your summer eating and drinking routines as well as make good use of all the great produce available this time of year.

Teri Spring is a registered dietitian at Adventist Health Lodi Memorial. The Healthy Lodi Initiative team shares local resources and connects employers with tools to work toward improved health. For more information, visit www.healthylodi.com or call the Lodi District Chamber of Commerce at 209-367-7840.

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