Dear Holly: Any tips for staying hydrated in this heat? -Parched
Dear Parched: It is really easy to get behind on your water intake in the heat of the summer. Children and older adults are especially vulnerable to dehydration. Kids, because they have a lot of surface area relative to their body size, and older adults because their thirst mechanism declines with age. This means that it takes longer for them to feel thirsty.
How do you know if you are dehydrated? Monitor color of your urine. Light colored urine indicates proper hydration. This is much more accurate than counting glasses or ounces of water as your hydration needs vary day to day with variations in exercise, temperature, foods consumed and more.
The first step to preventing dehydration is to not wait until you are feeling thirsty. Our thirst mechanism is not very sensitive at any age, and declines with each passing decade.
Drink your preferred temperature. If you like hot drinks year round, keep your kettle going and enjoy hot water, hot water with lemon and a variety of teas. If you prefer arctic drinks, keep your ice maker running, a pitcher of water in the fridge, freeze fruit for flavor and chill your water then drink with a straw.
Use your technology. Set a reminder on your phone. Use tracking software to monitor beverage intake or use the free Daily Water app to keep tabs. Using the app you can set alarms to remind you to drink water.
Or skip technology: purchase an AquaTally cup, a great tool that uses two silicone bands around a cup with a lid and straw to track progress throughout the day. This cup is especially useful for older adults. Dehydration is a common reason to for an ER visit in this group; they may be dealing with early dementia and forget to drink water or may be taking a medication that suppresses their thirst. It is also useful to monitor maximum water intake for those with a fluid restriction.
Eat an abundance of fruits and veggies – they’re excellent for your health and loaded with water. Have fruits and vegetables with each meal and snack. Smoothies and soups are a great hydration choice too, if you find recipes that are not loaded with added sugars or fat. You can even make popsicles with juice, yogurt or coffee.
Keep reusable bottle with you. Skip bottled water: it isn’t better than tap, costs more money and creates too much trash.
Be mindful while traveling. We are not focusing on water as much on the move. Also, the desert air on planes sucks the water right out of you! Make goals – “I’ll drink this big bottle of water each day before lunch.” Track them and monitor progress. Give yourself a small, non-food reward for complying with your goals. Bottoms up!
Ready for a Real Food Wellness Challenge? Start the month with 21 Days of Real Food! Click to enroll in the challenge; we launch the 1st of each month.
What’s your question for Holly? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information and to make an appointment to work on your goals, visit Grass Roots Nutrition, LLC and BrideBod, owned by me, Holly Larson, a Registered Dietitian. Visit me online at hollylarsonrd.com and follow us on Facebook. Have a delicious, healthy day!