The promised heat wave is finally here. Rob Hobson, Head of Nutrition at Healthspan, shares 6 ways we can stay hydrated on the go
You can only survive without water for about three days, so staying hydrated is key to our survival. When the temperature rises, the body reacts in various ways to try to cool off, including sweating.
If you don’t drink enough fluids to replace the water lost through sweat, you run the risk of becoming dehydrated.
If you have any of these symptoms, it could be a sign that you are mildly or moderately dehydrated:
- Dry mouth
Why do we need water in the body?
The adult human body is made up of around 60 percent water, which fulfills a number of vital functions that are necessary for human survival.
The process of sweating and the regulation of body temperature by saliva, which is needed to prevent bacteria from forming and is necessary for digestion.
The adult human body is made up of around 60 percent water
Besides the lubrication of our joints and the support of the kidney function and the disposal of the urine as well as the support of the vital blood circulation of the body and the maintenance of the blood pressure.
How can you check that you are adequately hydrated?
There’s no scientific evidence to back up the eight-glass rule of water, and while it’s not a bad guide, keep in mind that everyone is different and some may need more than others, especially if they’re or are very active climatic zones live in hotter regions.
You can check your fluid balance by looking at the color of your urine, which should be pale yellow or clear with adequate hydration. You can download color cards from the internet to check this.
Are older people at a higher risk of dehydration in summer heat?
A study by the UCLA School of Nursing found that dehydration is often not properly recognized in the elderly and can lead to many health problems such as urinary tract infections and frequent falls.
The same study also found that adults over 65 had the highest rates of hospitalization for dehydration.
Elderly people can lose their sense of thirst and should therefore be actively encouraged to drink regularly.
What’s the best way to rehydrate in the summer sun?
Rehydration is not just about drinking, and there are many more interesting and novel ways you can increase your fluid intake while out in the summer sun.
# 1 It’s not just water that counts
Many people hate drinking water and assume they won’t be properly hydrated if they don’t, but that’s just not true and food provides 20 percent of the fluids we get every day.
Try adding fresh fruit on top of the yogurt for breakfast to help keep it hydrated (melons are good choices).
If you’re going on a long hike, order a salad for your pub lunch as summer vegetables like lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers will drip in the water if you’ll excuse the pun.
# 2 Hot drinks hydrate just as well as cold ones
North Africans traditionally drink mint tea in the heat, and that’s because it not only moisturizes but also stimulates the body to cool down.
Herbal teas and even hot water with lemon and ginger are nice ways to keep yourself hydrated in the summer sun.
# 3 Snack on watery fruits
When venturing into the park or taking a long walk or bike ride, try packing watery fruits in a cooler bag to aid in hydration.
Fruits like melon and pineapple are high in water and low in carbohydrates to help keep your energy levels high.
When home, try freezing grapes, cherries, and strawberries for a chilled treat.
# 4 Try spicing up your water with herbs and fruits
If you get bored of drinking plain water, explore the many variations of fruits and vegetables that help add flavor and interest.
Try adding herbs like rosemary, basil, and mint to your water bottle, as well as fruits like lemons, oranges, melons, strawberries, and vegetables like cucumber.
# 5 Treat yourself to a popsicle!
If you’re out in the summer sun, a popsicle is a great way to add moisture. Keep it simple and plain and avoid chocolate and sprinkles in favor of lower-calorie, fruit-based options.
# 6 Electrolytes help with hydration
When you sweat, you lose water from inside and outside your cells. The water outside the cells is rich in sodium, an electrolyte that works in balance with potassium.
Potassium is an electrolyte in cells. Sweat contains about seven times more sodium than potassium, so sodium is the main electrolyte to replace if you exercise in the heat and sweat a lot more than usual (Try Healthspan Elite Active Hydrate).
Sodium is the main electrolyte to replace when exercising in the heat
When the heat rises, it’s always a good idea to make hydration a priority, and you can do this by being careful with what you drink and eat.
Remember, thirst is a signal of dehydration, so make drinking a daily ritual by drinking fluids with every meal and regularly throughout the day to keep dehydration at bay.
Rob Hobson is a leading UK nutritionist with 15 years of experience in the industry.
Rob has worked with many of the UK’s leading health and wellness brands and is the author of The Detox Kitchen Bible and The Art of Sleeping, which have been very successful and have been sold worldwide.
Rob is a well-known face in the media, having written hundreds of articles on nutrition and sleep for publications such as the Daily Mail Women’s Health and Woman and Home, as well as television and radio appearances.
Rob also works with private clients, including the Saudi royal family and celebrities like Gwendoline Christie.
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