Stay Hydrated in Summer

August 10, 2011

In the heat of summer we lose a lot of water and we need to stay hydrated. Here are SupermarketGuru's tips to hydration

Most adults lose about 10 cups of water every day through normal body functions including perspiration and breathing; and in the heat of summer we can lose even more! To keep your body working properly, you need to replace the water you lose. Here are some tips to stay healthy, hydrated and satisfied.

How much and what should you drink? Adults need around 8 - 12 cups of water per day depending on activity level. This can come from water itself or from other liquids such as low-fat milk and fruit juices, as well as foods.

How can you avoid becoming dehydrated? Dehydration can happen in any season, not just summer and not just on hot humid days. In the winter, heated air evaporates moisture on your skin, and although you may not feel thirsty, you need to replace fluids. Exercising in cold weather can cause you to perspire and become dehydrated as well. If you are going to be physically active, drink fluids on a schedule before, during and after the activity. Weigh yourself before and after a big workout. For every pound you lose after the activity, drink 2 cups of fluid.

Experts suggest:
2 cups - 2 hours before you exercise
1-2 cups - 15minutes before you exercise
1/2 to 1 cup - every 15 minutes during activity

Soda is not a good choice for hydration! Luckily the supermarket has hundreds of delicious, refreshing alternatives to the nutrient-free soda. Here are a few to consider:

Vegetable juice is one terrific way to insure you get your daily serving of vegetables, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Most vegetable juices are concentrated forms that equal at least two servings. Green drinks with concentrated forms of greens are fantastic and combination drinks come in regular or spicy for a real change to the palate. You can make your own vegetable juices with a blender or a juicer. All of them can be diluted with spring water. Suggested serving is four to six ounces, especially of sweet juices like carrot.

Fruit juice is an ideal drink for all ages whether fresh squeezed or bought in concentrated or non-concentrated form. When melons are inexpensive make them into juices; plain watermelon juice, cantaloupe or honeydew melon blended with crushed ice, or any of the great melons on the market make refreshing beverages. No need for added anything. When drinking juices at home, consider a fruit spritzer with one-third juice and one-third sparkling water for a sparkling and cooling drink. You can also dilute fruit juice with water that not only stretches the juice, it also stretches the concentration of natural sugars and calories. Suggested serving is six to eight ounces a day. CAUTION: Lots of fruit juice manufacturers add extra sugar and other additives to both bottled and canned products that are unnecessary and provide more calories. Once you try fresh squeezed or blended juices, you'll understand why fruit juices are terrific on their own. See SupermarketGuru’s Sangrita recipe below.

Teas and coffees refresh the body, stimulate the brain, and give some energy yet the caveat is moderation, moderation, moderation. Both teas and coffees are dehydrating because of their caffeine content and other elements. Over-consumption can mean depletion of essential elements leaving your body dehydrated and, in some cases, over stimulating your nerves. Tea, which has a milder form of caffeine called theine, is preferable because it enters the bloodstream slower and is less jarring to the nerves to most people than coffee. Suggested per-day consumption is four to 12 ounces. You can enjoy tea or coffee hot or iced. One iced tea recipe is tea sangria, made with your choice of tea, cut up fruit like strawberries, kiwi or stone fruit, and served over ice. Iced coffees are great with a splash of milk, which leaves you way below the typical 400-600 calorie laden coffee and tea drinks you buy at your local coffee shop. 

Spring water is your best choice for your daily drink, especially if your city's municipal water resource is too hard or soft for your taste. Spring waters contain natural minerals. Perk up plain waters with fresh-cut citrus or other fruit. While the ubiquitous recommendation of 64 ounces of water per day keeps popping up, it is not necessary if you eat a well-rounded diet of grains, fruits and vegetables (which contain a lot of water), and get enough daily exercise so that your digestion is regular. If it is not, try for 16 ounces, then work up to 32 ounces or more of plain waters until you feel you are comfortably hydrated and your body is in "good working order".

Food as a source of liquids: although you can't really measure the amount of water in the solid foods you consume, there are many foods you can find in your grocery store that are naturally good sources containing at least 90 percent water such as: lettuce, watermelon, broccoli and grapefruit. Milk, low-fat cottage cheese, apples, and baked potatoes with skin as well as chicken and beef are also surprisingly good sources.

Another great way to hydrate is to make a Sangrita. This is not to be confused with the Spanish wine punch, Sangria. Sangrita is a Mexican cocktail made with three or four juices. The intensity of fresh juices and chilies vary so taste and adjust to your liking.

Sangrita with Three Juices
Makes about 8 servings

1 cup tomato juice
Juice of 3 limes
Juice of 2-3 oranges
Minced fresh green chiles (serranos or jalapeños) or hot salsa to taste
Salt to taste
And if you have a grapefruit or fresh grapefruit juice on hand add a splash!

Mix the ingredients in a blender or pitcher. Because the intensity of fresh juices and chiles vary, mix most of the ingredients, then taste and adjust accordingly. Chill well before serving. Enjoy!