As the temperature and humidity increase, so does our body’s need to stay hydrated. Here are some tips to make sure you’re getting enough fluid this summer.
By the time you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Dehydration can also cause fatigue, weakness, irritability, and constipation – or worse.
All fluids count toward your total intake for the day, but don’t undo your efforts: avoid beverages with high caffeine or alcohol content, which can actually dehydrate you over the course of the day. If you drink more than one glass of iced tea or iced coffee, brew a decaffeinated variety. Not a fan of plain water? Look for flavor-enhanced waters or low calorie powders or drops that add flavor. At home, infuse your ice water with fruit, cucumbers, or herbs for a natural flavor boost.
When it comes to beverages, avoid added sugars. Although a cold soda or frozen drink tastes refreshing, some sweet drinks can stimulate your thirst rather than quench it. Substitute calorie free carbonated mineral water, or make your own with club soda and bit of fruit juice. Do you really need a sports drink? If you’re sweating excessively and working out for more than an hour, the electrolytes in sports drinks can be helpful for rehydrating, but check the labels to see how many calories you’re consuming.
Before a cycle class, make sure you’ve had 8-12 ounces in the past hour. You’ll need up to another 24 ounces throughout your workout. Afterward, continue drinking – and refuel throughout the day with water-rich foods like watermelon, grapes, and tomatoes. They provide fluid as well as natural sugar when you need a boost of energy.
Although drinking water alone does not lead to weight loss, foods with a high water content (think fruits and veggies, soups, smoothies) can make you feel fuller, longer. If you’re replacing a high calorie beverage with water, it will decrease your calorie intake for the day. Also, thirst is often confused for hunger. Before you grab a snack, have a glass of water first – and see if you’re actually hungry.
Remember that your fluid needs may change based on how much you exercise (and sweat!), your height and weight, and if you’re pregnant or nursing. Try these tips to help meet the general goal of eight 8-oz glasses per day!