With the summer heatwave, you are probably noticing that you are thirstier
than usual… Wondering why? This article will address key recommendations to staying hydrated all season long.
The first question you may ask is, “How much fluid do I need to drink each day?” There are many ways to calculate fluid needs for both adults and children, but don’t worry, there is no need to walk around with a calculator all summer! The best way to meet your fluid needs is to drink to your thirst. Simply make sure that when you feel thirsty throughout the day you have fluid available to drink. While some experts may recommend consuming eight, 8oz glasses of fluid each day, this does not suit everyone’s ’ needs. Hot, humid days call for more fluids compared to mild or cool days. Increased physical activity vastly increases fluid needs due to the high level of fluid lost through sweat. Thirst and fluid needs are
also impacted by the foods you eat. Salty, rich and dense foods spike the urge
to drink during or after the meal. As you may be figuring out, fluid requirements are simply not one-size-fits-all. Drinking when thirsty will assure you meet your daily fluid needs.
The best way to ensure that you always have a beverage on hand is to carry a water bottle with you as often as possible. Try buying a BPA-free refillable bottle that holds at least 16oz of fluid. You can refill it all day long and clip it onto your belt loop or throw it into your purse, briefcase or gym bag. If you know the bottle is there, you may develop the habit of drinking sips throughout the day. There is no need to gulp down cups and cups of fluid at one time as long as you remember to take sips all day long.
One of the best ways to monitor your hydration status is to monitor your urine. If your urine is dark and cloudy, you are probably not consuming enough fluid. This can be a matter of trial and error, but eventually you want to aim for clear, light
colored urine. Try testing out how many cups of fluid it takes to achieve light, clear urine on a daily basis; this is another way to estimate your fluid needs.
You may wonder what kind of fluids you should be consuming. Drink water whenever possible. Sports drinks, juices and sodas are loaded with empty calories, excess sugar and/or high fructose corn syrup, which can sometimesleave you feeling even thirstier so try to limit or avoid sugar-sweetened beverages. Watch your intake of beverages that contain caffeine because of their diuretic effect on the body. That means that the the fluid coming in will be coming out just as quickly! A moderate amount of caffeine is generally defined as less than 300mg per day - or the equivalent of about two 8oz cups of coffee.
If you are not a huge fan of water, try adding citrus fruit such as lemons, limes or oranges to a large pitcher of ice water. This is a natural way to infuse flavor without adding sugar. Another option to boost your intake of fluid is to eat foods with a high water content, so try to munch on leafy greens, melons, cucumbers, celery, grapes or cherries throughout the day. Consuming frozen treats also
counts toward meeting your daily fluid needs, but again, avoid treats with too
much added sugar and look for pops that have real fruit inside.
So, just to recap:
1) Take sips of water all day long, especially when thirsty, to avoid reaching the point of dehydration.
2) Always carry a water bottle.
3) Monitor your urine and aim for it to be clear and light colored.
4) Drink water whenever possible and avoid sugar-sweetened beverages.
5) Eat foods with a high water content.
Stay hydrated all summer long with these five simple tips! If you want to learn more, please stop by the Timonium ShopRite (37 W Aylesbury Rd) during my Live Right Kid’s Day events on Saturday, July 21st from 11:00 to 2:00pm or on Thursday, July 26th from 4:00 to 6:00pm. Or, tune in to WBAL weekend morning news on Sunday, July 22nd where I will be providing more tips on how ot stay hydrated during this long, hot summer.