Thirsty? Seventy five percent of Americans are chronically dehydrated. And according to a study published by Harvard researchers, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26066941, children 6-19 years of age are not hydrated either. Over 4,000 children were included in the study. Over half were not well hydrated and 25% of the children drank no plain water at all.
Water consumption is essential to life. It helps metabolism, body temperature, blood pressure, circulation and going to the bathroom. Thirst also is often mistaken for hunger and therefore can contribute to overeating and weight gain. You do not have to live in a third world country to experience mild dehydration. Some symptoms include: lack of energy, hunger, headaches, constipation and decreased focus and cognitive function.
The Institute of Medicine recommends adequate water intake for men 13 cups or 3 liters a day and 9 cups or 2 liters for women. Temperature, activity level, body size etc… should be factored into the daily water intake equation. This calculator may be helpful to figure out just how much fluid you should drink, https://www.umsystem.edu/newscentral/totalrewards/2014/06/19/how-to-calculate-how-much-water-you-should-drink/.
As we head into summer, the risk of mild dehydration is much higher. During the heat of the summer, staying hydrated is important. Enjoy your fun in the sun with thirst quenching beverages that supply electrolytes and nutrients for taste and well-being.
My top summer drink picks:
- Water will always top my list. It is always clear crisp refreshing. Buy an infuser or just add a slice or two of lemon or lime, cucumber & mint or berries to help replace electrolytes lost from sweating.
- Make your own vegetable juice or green drink, this one looks OH SO GOOD!,http://www.betternutrition.com/green-smoothie-drink/columns/askthenaturopath/1166, or just add water to one already made, greens plus http://greensplus.com/index.php. Vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber play an important role in staying hydrated and wellness.
- Watermelon smoothie, see this simple “pinktastic” beverage recipe http://low-cholesterol.food.com/recipe/watermelon-smoothie-33787, much less calories than a 100 calorie snack pack. Only 25 calories and a good dose of vitamin A and potassium. There are additional nutrients that promote good bone health too, fluoride, calcium, magnesium and even a little choline (see why choline is so important to good health here,https://valeriegoldstein.wordpress.com/2013/06/11/eggs-are-not-evil/ ). Use your good judgment and you can create almost any recipe like this.
- Rooibos tea (pronounced roy-bos) is caffeine free so it is not dehydrating (maintains fluid and electrolytes) and it does not contain tannins (compounds that decrease iron and amino acid absorption).
- Kefir is packed with nutrients and it supports digestion and bone health. It naturally contains good bacteria and everyone should be consuming a good probiotic. One 4 oz. serving contains 75 calories, 4 grams of fat, 6 grams of carbs and 4 grams of protein.
Honorable mentions, because they are processed but much better options than Gatorade or sugar laden drinks, go to:
- Coconut water (unsweetened, of course) only 60 calories for 11 oz. and 100% is sugar (coconut is a fruit) and about 700 mg potassium but if you like it drink 1/2 (about 5-6 oz) after a workout.
- V-8, although this is a vegetable juice it is processed so has higher amounts of sodium but it does contain vitamins A, C, iron and calcium.
Consuming foods and beverages containing high amounts of sodium, sugar and caffeine will increase your fluid needs so keep that in mind if you typically gulp down sugary fruit or sports drinks, soda or even diet soda. Most commercially packaged items will contain excess amounts of salt or sugar.
Mild dehydration is very common. Drink to improve your quality of life. Take on a tall and tasty beverage while serving your body the fluid and nutrients it needs!