by Kristen Lakoma, Registered Dietitian with Evolution Nutrition

Summer is here and it is HOT right now. This means staying hydrated is more important than ever. When you’re outside enjoying the great weather, you need to make sure that you’re drinking enough to replenish yourself.

Water is an essential nutrient for the entire body. It makes up about 60% of the body and it serves a number of roles, including keeping your body cool, removing waste, and keeping bowel habits normal. It takes a lot of water to stay hydrated each day! You may remember the old adage of needing to drink 8 cups of water a day, but it’s actually quite a bit more! The typical adult loses 10 cups of water each day through sweat, urination, and other outputs, so on average, women should drink 10 cups a day and men should drink 15 cups. When you exercise or sweat more than usual, it’s even more than that.

As you head outside this summer to enjoy the day, use the following tips and tricks to make sure you’re drinking enough. And keep in mind that if you start to feel dehydrated (symptoms include nausea, fatigue, headache, muscle cramps, dark yellow urine, and thirst), drink water!   If you’re dizzy, have a rapid heart rate, feel confused, or aren’t peeing despite drinking a lot of fluids, it’s time to seek medical attention!

#1: Bring it with you. If you don’t have water with you, you won’t drink it, so the first step is carrying a water bottle when you head out.

#2: Eat water-filled foods. You can supplement water with high water content foods. Watermelon, honeydew and cucumbers are perfect, hydrating, beachside snacks. You can also snack on grapefruit and strawberries, and add tomatoes, spinach and peppers to your meals. Broccoli is also a great source of water, if you can believe it!

#3 Flavor it. If you don’t like the taste of water, try making it more delicious by flavoring it with fruits and veggies (lime, pineapple and cucumber are delicious!). You can also add herbs like mint leaves, grated ginger and peppermint oil or add stevia-based sweeteners like Crystal Light Pure or True Lemonade. Finally, if you like a little bubbly, you can always hydrate with seltzer or sparkling water – those count too.

#4 Add more if you’re moving. If you’re exercising in the heat, you should be sure to be drinking even more water. Drink throughout the day instead of pounding water right before you exercise – you’ll get a stomach ache if you exercise on a belly full of water. While you exercise, drink about half a cup of water every 15 minutes, and after exercise, drink with fluids and electrolytes. Electrolytes help replace the salts that you lose when you sweat. Coconut water, Pedialyte, sports drinks, tomato juice, and even just water with added electrolytes are good choices!

Staying hydrated is key to enjoying a fun-filled summer, so grab your water bottle and start drinking!

Evolution Nutrition is a group outpatient practice that provides one-on-one nutrition counseling to patients. At Evolution Nutrition we believe food is medicine and that proper nutrition is the foundation for optimal health and wellness. Increasing the intake of whole foods can prevent, alleviate and even heal many common health problems. Our dietitians empower patients to make better food choices and develop healthier lifestyle habits for the long term. You can find us at various locations throughout the state of Rhode Island. If you are interested in learning more about Evolution Nutrition, please feel free to call us at 401-396-9331 or check out our website at www.evolutionrd.com