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It’s summertime and that means people are going to be spending a lot more time outdoors, sweating, and becoming dehydrated. It’s important to not only stay hydrated, but to know HOW and WHY to stay hydrated. Proper hydration is important no matter the time of year, but during the summer it tends to be of even more importance.
Did you know that 60% of our body mass is made up of water? If we become dehydrated, it doesn’t just make us thirsty, it affects many different areas of our body, including:
- Our skin, joints, muscles, and ligaments
- Our brain health and mood
- Our weight management
- Our kidneys and detoxifying organs
- Our digestion and bowel movements
Every day, about 80% of our total water comes from beverages (all forms) and the other 20% comes from food. Hydration needs really depend on the person, their activity levels, and their health so you may need to play around with your intake and find the right balance for you.
The other day Sprouts Farmers Market invited me to a little event at one of their local stores here in Denver. It was a ton of fun and I got to meet some great local bloggers as well. And, they sent us home with a great little tote bag of samples and a gift card!
At the event, we were treated to a presentation by Suzanne Farrell, a Registered Dietician here in Denver. Her talk, On the Quest to Quench: Learning to Defeat Dehydration, was great and perfect for this time of year.
During Suzanne’s presentation, we got to tour the Sprouts store and check out different foods and beverages and learn about how they help keep the body hydrated. From their fresh juice bar (yum) to the produce department to the freezer section, staying hydrated is easy for anyone once you know what to do!
5 Easy Tips for Staying Hydrated
Suzanne had SO many fun facts and tips about hydration, a lot of which I didn’t know. Here’s what I learned and I know it will be helpful for you this summer (and year round!).
1. Know the Right Amount of Liquids You Need. There’s a lot of opinions out there about how much water you need to consume per day. The general rule that Suzanne likes was roughly half of your body weight in ounces per day. So, for example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you would need about 75 ounces of liquids per day for proper hydration. This is an easy, no-brainer way to see how much liquid you may need for proper hydration.
The Institute of Medicine states that women need about 91 ounces (or 11.5 cups) of total water per day, with around 9 cups of that coming from beverages (including water). The rest would come from food. Men need about 128 ounces (or 16 cups)of water each day, including around 13 of those coming from total beverages.
2. Eat Your Liquids. Remember above where I mentioned that you get about 20% of your water from food? Well, the bulk of that is going to come from fruits and veggies and we all know that most people don’t eat nearly enough produce on a daily basis. So, as a way to help increase your liquid totals AND get more healthy produce into your diet, focus on eating vegetables and fruits with high water content. Here are some examples that Suzanne shared with us:
- Cucumbers and iceberg lettuce are about 97% water
- Celery, zucchini, and tomatoes are about 94-95% water
- Bell peppers are about 92% water (with green being slightly higher at 94%)
- Watermelon and strawberries are around 92% water
- Grapefruit and cantaloupe are around 90-91% water
Fruits and veggies are a great source of dietary food-based water to keep you hydrated. Also, soups, stews, smoothies, even popsicles all count towards your liquid intake as well.
3. Practice Smart Hydration When Outdoors. If possible, try to avoid strenuous activity when the temperature is at its hottest each day (typically between noon and 4pm). The added heat can dehydrate you more on top of the exercise you are already doing. If you are doing a lot of strenuous activity, make sure you hydrate properly with something like coconut water or a homemade electrolyte drink (like this one) to help properly balance your minerals in addition to your water. Try to stay away from commercial sports drinks that are full of sugar, artificial colors, flavors, etc.
4. Don’t Cut Out Sodium. Salt/sodium is critical to our hydration so don’t completely eliminate it from your diet. Sodium works in harmony with other minerals, like potassium, to properly regulate water balance in the body. Sodium needs are going to vary, depending on the person, but my friend Lydia has a great post about salt on her site here. We also talk extensively about minerals and how they impact our health on my site here.
5. Mix Things Up! Staying hydrated doesn’t mean that you have to always just drink boring old water! There are lots of ways to stay hydrated, which includes:
- Eating more high-water veggies and fruits as mentioned above.
- Herbal tea infusions made with caffeine-free herbs. Get some tasty recipes here, here, here, and here.
- Infused waters made with your favorite fruits and veggies (10 delicious recipes coming soon!).
- Small amounts of fresh vegetable and fruit juice (ideally with the pulp). While juices are often shunned because of the sugar content, a small amount each day (no more than 4 ounces for adults) is going to be fine in most cases. Ideally, this would be made fresh either at a juice bar or at home. Try to focus mostly on vegetables in your juice and use fruits to add a little extra flavor or sweetness.
- Smoothies, slushes, and shakes .Make healthy frozen drinks at home using nutrient-dense ingredients. Check out my tasty recipes recipes here.
- Plain coconut water. A great source of minerals like potassium and magnesium. Add a slice of lemon or lime or even a chunk of fresh fruit for added flavor. Stay away from the flavored coconut waters as they tend to have added sugars, flavors, etc. Check out my coconut water review post here.
- Sparkling water or mineral water. Add some slices of fresh fruit or a splash of fruit juice to sparkling water for a fizzy and delicious drink.
- Water kefir and kombucha. Learn more about making your own water kefir here and your own kombucha here and here.
- Iced and frozen “coffee”. I love, love, love my herbal coffee over ice during the summer. Check out my recipes here. Check out my DIY Herbal Coffee Guide here.
If you want to learn more about Sprouts Market, check them out here. I also wrote about them in my recent recipe for No-Bake “Cheesecake” Bites with Cherry Balsamic Compote.