Nutrition-Bites-Summertime-Hydration

Nutrition Bites: Summertime Hydration

Hydration is a key component in our health that is often overlooked. Now that we are in the heat of summer, with exceptionally high temperatures, hydration is crucial to a safe and happy summer. The human body is made up of about 60% water. Water is imperative for good health and plays many important roles in the body, such as, aiding in flushing out waste products, regulating body temperature, preventing constipation and much more. The amount of water each person needs can vary, depending on health, amount of physical activity, and geographic location. According to the Institute of Medicine, the adequate intake (AI) for healthy men is roughly 13 cups (3 liters) of fluid per day. The AI for healthy women is about 9 cups (2.2 liters) of fluids per day. When participating in intense exercise (lasting over an hour) or enduring the extreme heat where excessive perspiration occurs, it is necessary to replenish fluids and electrolytes. Electrolytes are minerals needed to keep the body properly hydrated and are often lost in sweat. Drinks such as Gatorade and Powerade provide additional electrolytes for those times of excessive sweat or intense bouts of exercise. Be sure to choose the Powerade Zero, or Gatorade G2 for lower calories, sugar, and carbohydrates. Although tea, milk, juice and coffee are primarily composed of water, and can contribute to total fluid consumed for the day, water is always the best choice.

Tips to consume more water:

  • Place a glass of water on the nightstand and drink a glass as soon as you wake up
  • Every time you pass a water fountain take a sip
  • Have a water bottle on your desk to drink throughout the day
  • Take a bottle of water while running errands
  • Drink water before, every 15 minutes during, and after exercise
  • Add fresh fruit to water for a hint of flavor
  • Drink one cup of water before and after each meal

Hydrating foods
Fruits and vegetables have a high water content, and can support good hydration. Some examples are cucumbers which are 97 percent water, tomatoes 95 percent water, cantaloupe 89 percent water, peaches 89 percent water, apples 84 percent water, and blueberries 80 percent water. Note that these foods should not be eaten in place of water but in addition!

Fruit kabobs
Ingredients:
1 container strawberries
1/4 large watermelon
1/2 cantaloupe
1/2 honeydew melon
Directions:
1. Wash and chop strawberries, watermelon, cantaloupe and honey dew melon into 1-inch-thick squares
2. Slide fruit on to skewers (about 8 pieces)
3. Refrigerate and enjoy! *any fruit can be substituted

Cucumber lemon infused water
Ingredients:
Cucumbers
Lemons
Fresh mint
Directions:
1. Slice cucumber and lemons
2. Place desired amount of cucumbers, lemon and mint in a pitcher of water (the more cucumbers and lemon and mint, the stronger the flavor!)
3. Chill in refrigerate for 30 minutes
4. Pour over ice

By Rachel Pfister, Dietetic Intern, Tulane University
Photo courtesy of CDC Public Health Image Library

(Nutrition Bites is a recurring feature that appears regularly in the Tulane PRC’s e-newsletters and covers nutrition and health tips. If you have any suggestions for Nutrition Bites topics, please contact Naomi Englar at nking2@tulane.edu or 504-988-7410.)

Topics:   diet , nutrition , food environment , food marketing , health communication

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