I don’t know about you guys, but where I live we’ve been having a sustained heat wave over the past 6-8 weeks. It’s hot outside! Since my temperature is already running a bit hotter than usual, I feel like I’m melting these days. But I also feel like I’m having a tough time staying hydrated, so I thought I’d share some of my favourite hydration tips with you today.
For many of us, not only is the summer hot, but it also tends to be an active time of year, which means we need to be particularly mindful of keeping hydrated. Pregnant and lactating people also need to keep their hydration needs in mind, as they are higher than usual.
Staying well hydrated is important because it helps our hearts pump blood through the blood vessels to the muscles. And, it helps our muscles work more efficiently (remember – your heart is a muscle!). When it’s hot out and we’re not hydrated enough, this means the heart is working extra hard to do its job.
Being well hydrated also helps with absorption of water-soluble nutrients, helps regulate body temperature, aids in digestion, and helps transport oxygen to your cells. And, good hydration helps prevent constipation, hemorrhoids, muscle cramps, headaches, and bladder infections.
So as you can see, it’s pretty important to be well hydrated!
How much fluid do you need to take in to be well hydrated?
This really changes from person to person. It varies depending on how hot it is outside, how active you are and for how long, and also changes according to your personal metabolism and biology. In general, someone who sweats more will also need to drink more to stay hydrated.
Are you thirsty? Thirst isn’t the best signal that you need to drink — if you feel thirsty then you’re probably already a bit dehydrated. Other signs of dehydration include:
- Tiredness or lethargy
- Decreased urine output or really dark yellow urine
- Dry skin
- Dry mouth
Ok, then how much should you drink? It’s impossible to say; some people need more, and some need less. Generally, the easiest thing to do is pay attention to the colour of your urine. Pale and clear means you’re well hydrated. If it’s dark, you need to drink more fluids. the Institute of Medicine recommends that pregnant women drink about 100 oz (3 litres!) of fluids per day.
If you’re struggling to stay hydrated or looking for more creative way to get in your daily water, here are my top 10 tips.
Make it part of your hydration game plan to drink water before you exercise or go out in the sun. Of course it’s also important to keep hydrated once you’re out, but drinking before hand gives you a head start and helps to avoid undue strain on your heart.
2. Choose Caffeine Free
Whenever possible, stay away from drinks that contain caffeine. Caffeine is a diuretic (translation: it makes you pee more) which in turn causes you to lose more fluids. Note that alcohol is also a diuretic, so if you’re hitting the breweries or having cocktails on a sunny patio, be sure to have a large glass of water alongside every alcoholic drink.
3. Eat fruit!
Most fruits (and vegetables) contain a good amount of water, and it all adds up. In particular juicy fruits like watermelon and cantaloupe, stone fruits like peaches, and fresh berries contain a lot of water. Fresh fruit also provides dietary fiber, so it’s a better choice than drinking fruit juice.
Try this Watermelon and Feta Salad
4. Keep water handy
Having water on hand is one way to ensure you’ll remember to drink it, so keeping a refillable bottle handy is a good idea. Go for something that’s BPA free if you can. I like those insulated metal water bottles as they keep my water icy cold, which is how I like it.
5. Infuse your water
If you find plain water uninspiring or down right hard to drink, try making infused water. Add sliced fruit, fresh herbs, cucumber slices, lemons, and berries to a big jug of water and let it sit in the fridge for a few hours to let the flavours infuse.
Try these infused water combinations
6. Add a splash of juice
In general I’m not a juice drinker, as I find it too thick and sweet, and because it tends to be empty calories and way too much sugar. But, I do really enjoy small splash of juice – in particular tart juices – added to a tall glass of water. This gives the water a bit of flavour, and I also find it to be more hydrating than straight water.
7. Add a pinch of salt
It may sound weird to add salt to your water to stay hydrated, but many people find that adding a pinch of sea salt to their water does the trick. And this makes sense if you think about it; we lose salts when we sweat, and they need to be replaced. I like to add a pinch of pink Himalayan salt, which contains a lot of minerals.
8. Try herbal teas
Herbal teas don’t contain caffeine and are loaded with flavour, so they’re a great way to add to your daily fluid intake. Too hot to drink tea? Herbal teas also make excellent iced beverages.
Try this Sweet Tea recipe
9. Make ice pops
Sometimes you just really want a cold treat, but the good news is that popsicles and ice pops totally count towards your daily fluid intake. Make them yourself from herbal teas, leftover smoothies, and fruit juices to keep the sugar levels lower than store-bought popsicles.
Try these Roasted Strawberry Yoghurt Pops
10. Try DIY slushies
If you’ve got a decent blender, slushies and smoothies are a fun way to get in extra fluids. A smoothie for breakfast is a great way to get in extra fluids and make a meal of it at the same time!
Try this DIY Cucumber Mint Slushie