How to Make Sure You Stay Hydrated This Summer
By Heidi Baldwin, MS, Holistic Health Coach
With the summer heat comes a lot more sweating. We lose more water than we usually do in the colder months, making it even more important to stay vigilant about remaining hydrated. I know this can be a difficult task if this is not something you're used to doing daily, so here are some helpful tips to make sure you stay hydrated this summer!
Eat your water. When you want an alternative to that glass of water, consider foods with high water content. Many cooling foods, such as cucumber, grapes, and watermelon, are high in water content and can help to boost your hydration efforts.
Carry a reusable water bottle with you. Make it a habit to carry your reusable water bottle with you wherever you go. Even if you're just walking around the house, take your bottle with you. This will be your constant reminder to drink water, and it will always be on hand. There are many fun water bottles that you can buy; some even have time measurements on the side to keep you on track with drinking water throughout the day.
Track your water intake. There are many ways that you can do this, from keeping a note on your phone, to downloading a water intake app. You don't need anything fancy or high-tech. You can buy a water bottle with measurements or buy an extra-large water bottle where your entire water intake for the day will fit in one fill-up. You can always pour the water into a smaller container for easier consumption!
Flavor your water. If you don't feel like drinking plain water, add some natural flavoring. Put some mint and lemon wedges into a pitcher and let the flavors infuse your water. You can also put fruits, such as berries and watermelon, or make cucumber-infused water. The options are endless! They even make water bottles specifically for infusing fruits, veggies, or herbs!
Make smoothies. Smoothies are a great way to get some extra hydration while also tasting delicious and giving you some extra energy. Instead of having a sit-down meal for breakfast, make a hydrating smoothie with water, fruits, protein, and a healthy source of fat. Smoothies can be just as nutritious and filling, depending on what you put in them. Summer is the best time of year to consume smoothies!
Remember that not all drinks are equally hydrating. Caffeine and alcohol are diuretics and will dehydrate you, so it's wise to limit your consumption. I know that iced coffee is an all-day summer go-to drink for many people, but it’s important to remember this is actually adding to your dehydration. When you choose drinks other than water, make it a habit of having a glass of water alongside your beverage. Coconut water is an excellent alternative to regular water if you want to switch it up, and it also contains electrolytes, which regulate fluid balance and keeps you hydrated. If you buy coconut water at the store, make sure it doesn't have any added sugars.
Keep yourself cool. Staying hydrated isn't only about drinking as much water as possible— you also need to make sure you're not losing too much of it. If you notice you're sweating a lot, get yourself out of the sun and cool down. Try not to be outside in the middle of the day when it's hottest out, and carry a portable fan with you if needed.
Remember, it’s important to drink half your body weight in ounces of water each day. Yes, you read that correctly. If that statement made you gasp, chances are you’re already chronically dehydrated and need to make a commitment to shifting your hydration habits. Chronic dehydration can lead to an array of health issues, the least of which is your body harboring more excess waste and toxins than it needs to because you don’t have the ability to flush it out. Start slowly and increase your water intake a little each day so that you get used to consuming the amount of water you need to function well. As your body’s cells begin to realize you’re not going to continue to deprive them of the water they need, those trips to the bathroom will slow down and your body will start using the water appropriately. So, before you read or do anything else, go grab a nice cool glass of fresh water, and enjoy!