Written by McKenzie Hall, RDN and Lisa Samuel, RDN, consulting dietitians for NPRC
Staying adequately hydrated is one of the best things you can do for your health. And with the weather warming up, staying hydrated is more important than ever. You see, water does a lot to ensure your body runs like a smooth operating machine even during the hottest days of summer. Without you even being aware of it, water works within your body to cushion your joints and organs, to transport essential nutrients, maintain an internal temperature and electrolyte balance, and even rid your body of waste (1).
Unfortunately, the body’s thirst mechanism is not always the most reliable. By the time the brain registers that you’re thirsty, you may already be slightly dehydrated (2). And being dehydrated can certainly put a damper on a sunny mood; it can contribute to lack of focus, concentration, fatigue, and even a false sense of hunger. That’s why it’s a good idea to sip on fluids and munch on foods with higher water content throughout the day.
The beverages you drink and the foods you eat inevitably play an important role in your hydration status (3). Here are four simple tips to ensure you stay hydrated healthfully this summer.
1. Most often, turn to water. While plain old water may seem somewhat boring, it’s an inexpensive, calorie-free way to satisfy your body’s needs during low-impact activities. (During times of high aerobic activity, you may require a beverage containing carbohydrates and sodium). To add a little flare to your standard glass of water, add fresh fruit and herbs, such as a few frozen raspberries and a couple mint leaves.
2. Take a break from water with iced tea. Home-brewed, unsweetened raspberry iced tea is a great way to hydrate while enjoying a little bit of flavor. To add a touch of satisfying sweetness and nutrition to your iced tea, add muddled frozen raspberries to your glass. Another idea? Freeze raspberry lemonade in your ice-cube trays and add a few cubes to your glass. When they melt, rather than diluting the tea, they’ll enhance the flavor.
3. Sip on a real fruit smoothie. If a hearty meal doesn’t sound appetizing during a heat spell, enjoy a whole meal, fruit smoothie for an on-the-go breakfast or lunch. Frozen raspberries, are the perfect sweet addition to any fruit smoothie. Simply combine with other fruits and veggies of your choice, 100% fruit juice or ice, and heaping scoop of Greek yogurt or nut butter for an added protein boost.
4. Eat your fluid needs. You don’t necessarily have to drink all of your fluid needs. Foods you eat contribute to total water consumption too. Munch on foods with higher water content, such as yogurt, fruits, and vegetables to add water to your day’s requirement. Raspberries are composed of at least 85 percent water, making it a great choice to add to your diet during the warmer months (4).
An individual’s fluid needs vary depending from person to person. A registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) can help you develop a plan that meets your needs. To find an RDN in your area, visit www.eatright.org.
1. Water: Meeting Your Daily Fluid Needs. Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/basics/water.html Updated October, 10, 2012.
Accessed April 7, 2014.
2. Popkin B, D’Anci K, Rosenberg I. Water, Hydration and Health. Nutr Rev 2010;
68(8) : 439–458.
3. American Dietetic Association, Dietitians of Canada, American College of Sports
Medicine, Rodriguez NR, Di Marco NM and Langley S. American College of Sports
Medicine position stand: Nutrition and athletic performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2009;
4. Sandra Bastin and Kim Henken, Water Content of Fruits and Vegetables (Lexington:
University of Kentucky Cooperative Extensive Service, December 1997), http://www2.ca.uky.edu/enri/pubs/enri129.pdf