Keeping Hydrated During the Warmer Months
It’s summertime, which means that the weather is hot and humid. Water is an essential nutrient so it is important to be hydrated all of the time. During the warmer summer months, and depending on your existing habits, your hydration needs may increase.
Why is hydration important?
- Control your body temperature
- Eliminate waste from your body
- Cushion your organs and joints
- Shuttle nutrients throughout your body
- Keep your bowels moving regularly
- Reduce the risk of injury when you are physically active
What are the signs of dehydration?
Signs of dehydration include:
- Feeling thirsty
- Less frequent urination or decreased urine output
- Dark yellow or amber-coloured urine (clear or pale yellow-coloured urine indicates adequate hydration)
- Headache or lightheadedness
- Sensation of hunger (you may confuse thirst for hunger – if you are trying to manage your weight, adequate hydration can help curb sensation of hunger)
- Fewer tears when crying
- For infants – no wet diapers for 3 hours
- Dry lips and mouth
- Low blood pressure
How much fluid do I need?
Your daily fluid needs will differ depending on your gender, climate you live in, physical activity level, sweat production, and body size.
To keep your body hydrated, aim for a fluid intake of about:
- 3 L (12 cups) for men 19 years old and over each day
- 2.2 L (9 cups) for women 19 years old and over each day.
Follow these tips to stay hydrated:
- Drink a glass of water when you wake up each morning or before you go to bed.
- Keep a fresh glass of water by your desk or on hand where you work.
- Carry a container of water with you throughout the day.
- Drink a glass of water before eating your meals.
- Make sure you have a drink with each meal such as a glass of low fat milk, soy beverage or water.
- Don’t ignore thirst. Drink water or another healthy drink when you feel thirsty.
- Go easy on caffeinated drinks such as coffee and certain teas. Caffeine is a diuretic and can cause you to lose more fluid. Round these drinks out with water as much as possible.
- Set a timer to remind you that it is time to drink up!
Get creative with staying hydrated – try these:
- Jazz up your water with lemon, or lime slices. These add a refreshing citrus flavour without all of the sugar that comes with juice. You could also add fresh tangelo, grapefruit, or mandarin slices for extra tang!
- Add stevia with your favourite berries such as strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries. Stevia is a natural sweetener, and berries taste great in the summer because they are in season!
- Try carbonated water with a splash of juice for a lower-sugar version of regular juice. Include pulp for extra fibre.
- For those who are active and sweating more – try mineral water to hydrate and replenish electrolytes. You could do a carbonated variety with one of the flavourings above – it’s refreshing and a much healthier bubbly drink to pop!
Mosadi Brown, BA, BASc, MEd, RD, CDE is a Registered Dietitian, Educator, and Leader in private practice. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org and http://www.nutritionandwellnesswithmosadi.com
Mosadi Brown, BA, BASc, MEd, RD, CDE is a Registered Dietitian based out of Toronto in private practice. Mosadi has a Bachelor of Arts, Honors in Kinesiology and a Bachelor of Applied Science, Honors in Food and Nutrition from Western University. She went on to complete a Comprehensive Graduate Dietetic Internship Program from London Health Sciences Centre in London, ON. After gaining extensive practice experience, Mosadi obtained her Master of Education in Adult Education with a focus on chronic disease education and support. Mosadi has skills in both clinical and educational arenas. By combining both skill sets, Mosadi is able to target specific behaviours to support behaviour change, focus on the interests and motivations of the target group, devote sufficient time and intensity through ready accessibility to her services, deliver coherent and clearly focused curricula, and be an asset to other health care professionals through resource development. She holds certifications as a Certified Diabetes Educator and Certified Craving Change(TM) Instructor.