Happy Hydration in the Heat
Tips for drinking enough this summer
Happy Hydration in the Heat
The sun is out, the down jackets are in the cupboard and the heating is off! This year, we are experiencing a real summer!
We all know we need water to stay alive, but we need it for far more than that – we need it to thrive. Dehydration, even the smallest amount, can contribute to:
- Poor concentration
- Muscle cramps
- Skin complaints
- Diminished sport performance
How much do we need?
That depends on factors such as how much you exercise and how much you sweat and whether you work in an air-conditioned environment – really dehydrating.
Research is a little contradictory in this field, but generally speaking most people will feel the benefit from drinking 1.5 to 2 litres per day and more if you’re athletic or sweat a lot. In some cases, I recommend people to drink 3 litres a day.
Top Ten Tips
- As soon as you get up have a big glass of water – hot or cold it doesn’t matter. Your kidneys (and a lot more) will appreciate it.
- In these summer months, keep a container of water in the fridge. Make it more interesting by chopping up strawberries, oranges or lemons and throwing some in. Or add herbs. My favourite is mint and lemon.
- You can also make up a “batch” of herbal tea of your choice, allow to cool and keep in a jug in the fridge. I like lemongrass or cinnamon tea for this but the choice is very much yours.
- At work, keep a bottle on your desk in the day and be aware how much you drink. You can buy some great glass bottles with protective covers so you’re not constantly guzzling chemicals from plastic or by BPA free bottles.
- Drink more in the first part of the day so you’re not on the toilet all night.
- Don’t forget that some foods contain lots of water so these can all help in keeping us hydrated. Good examples are cucumber, celery, broccoli, peppers, spinach and melon. Chia seeds are, for good reason, in vogue. If you have them, you’ll know they soak up liquid and expand to make a kind of gel/mousse (it can be quite delicious I promise), which as well as being rich in omega 3 fats and a range of nutrients, can aid in hydration.
- Don’t drink lots with main meals. This can dilute stomach acid and digestive enzymes and you can end up with poorly digested food and bloating. Leave 30 mins either side.
- Caffeine is a diuretic so too much of it will leave you dehydrated. If you have coffee, have water alongside. Try not to have more than two caffeinated drinks per day.
- If you find water really boring, use a small amount of fruit juice as you would diluting juice. You can gradually reduce this from 50/50 to 75/25 to 85/15 so that you are having far more water than juice. Do be aware that fruit juice is still a source of sugar.
- Make yourself a smoothie with a mixture of vegetables, fruit and water or coconut water. Coconut water is full of electrolytes, which can really help with hydration. I like to make ice cubes from it and add them to my smoothies or even just a glass of water. Warning: not good with gin and tonic as I found out the other day – label ice tray clearly!