With summer just around the corner and temperatures rising it's important to stay well-hydrated during the summer months. Most of us don't drink enough water in the first place, add in the higher temperatures and more outdoor activity, it all adds up to sweating more, leading to more fluid loss and potential dehydration. Dehydration can cause a large number of physical problems from headaches and migraines, to constipation to deep fatigue or loss of energy.
What to drink
The hydration factor
To figure out how much hydration you need, calculate your body weight. Divide that in half for the number of ounces needed to be properly hydrated. Divide that number by 8 to get the number of cups of fluid.
divided by 2 = 75
divided by 8 = 9.4 cups
Take that number, divide it by four and then set a “hydration alarm” approximately every two hours. When the alarm goes off put your beverage in front of you with the goal to drink it before the alarm goes off again.
Remember that this does not mean plain water. Too much water is not healthy either as it can dilute your electrolyte balance. Soups, herbal teas, food with lots of liquid (like watermelon), plus water all count towards a daily hydration goal.
Rehydrate and refresh
- Water – always good, water is exactly what your body needs. For a refreshing change to plain water add a slice of citrus to your water. For a cool and cleansing taste try slices of peeled cucumber or even a sprig of mint.
- Iced tea – although tea does have caffeine if you make your iced teas with green tea you'll be getting less caffeine overall. Or you can use herbal teas which have no caffeine and are delicious and enjoyable.
- Spritzers – adding your favorite juice to cool seltzer water with some ice and perhaps a slice of fresh fruit can be a great way to stay hydrated. The usual proportions are 30% juice 70% seltzer. Just be sure to choose juices that are 100% juice, no additives, no preservatives, no colors. If you are using concentrated juice you will need to adjust the proportions to your preference.
- Agua fresca – these cool and tasty drinks, originally from Mexico, are made by taking blended fresh fruit, usually melons, and combining them with water, sugar, and a splash of lime juice. Because there is sugar, with both the fresh fruit and the added sugar, these should be consumed in moderation. There is a delicious recipe posted below.
- Lemonade or limeade – made with citrus juice, water and sugar this can be very satisfying and cooling. If you make it yourself you control how much sugar is in it. There are a wide number of tasty recipes available online.
- 3 cups of melon (cantaloupe, watermelon, honeydew, etc), seeded, peeled and diced
- 1 1/2 cups cold water
- 2 tablespoons evaporated cane juice crystals
- juice of 1-2 limes
- Blend melon to a pulp in the blender
- Strain pulp to remove fibers
- In a pitcher mix together water and sugar until sugar crystals dissolve
- Add melon juice
- Add lime juice to taste
- Serve over ice
Instead of relying on the availability of drinks on the road, one of the best things you can do to stay hydrated is taking your container with you. Don't drink from plastic containers if you can at all avoid it due to issues with BPA (to learn more watch my interview with Lara Adler, The Environmental Toxins Nerd). Glass or stainless steel containers are your best bet. My personal favorite is Glasstic, a shatterproof plastic cylinder around a glass center cylinder. Easy to take apart and wash in the dishwasher, the company claims these are the last water bottle you'll ever need. I bought three over two years ago and they're still going strong. Get 10% off with this link.