Summer is here, and that can mean a lot more drinking – and no I don’t just mean cold brews.
In the summer we tend to consume more caffeinated and alcoholic beverages. That is a fun way to celebrate a special event, vacation or our country on the 4th, but it is also very dehydrating. We need to combat that with more water, along with needing more H2O for our increased sun exposure and outdoor physical activities. The sun can be very dehydrating, but pairing it with more dehydrating drinks can be a terrible combination.
We know we need to stay hydrated for our overall health, but do you know why it’s so important? Proper hydration allows all of our body to function correctly. When we get dehydrated, we can experience dizziness, dry mouth and feeling sluggish. It can also stall weight loss and, in severe cases, lead to death.
We can enjoy our fun summer beverages while staying hydrated and healthy. Here’s how:
•Set a timer: Every hour while you are in the heat, set an alarm for a water break. Drink at least an 8 ounce glass or bottle of water.
•Spruce it up: If you have a hard time hydrating add some taste to your water. Sweet Leaf water drops are a great way to add a punch to your water without
adding extra calories or sugar.
•If you’re thirsty, drink. If you start to get a dry mouth that is your body gently reminding you to hydrate.
•Mix it up: While water is always No. 1, adding electrolyte-enhanced beverages can help as well. Just look out for the sneakily added sugars.
When you know you are going to be celebrating make sure you keep your dehydrating beverages in check.
Healthy alternatives for caffeine and alcohol include:
•Tea Time: A great alternative to your morning coffee is some uncaffeinated tea. If you are used to a lot more caffeine in your day, you will want to ease into this.
•Mock-tails: If you want to cut back on your alcohol make your cocktail a mocktail. Sparkling water with a few slices of lemon or lime works great.
•Soda-Pop: If caffeinated pop is your drink of choice try replacing some of them with sparkling-flavored water. These are caffeine free, and while they won’t help increase your hydration much, they will not be working against you.
Remember, if you are feeling thirsty, you are already dehydrated. It’s easier to prevent this than to treat it so make sure you are drinking at least half of your body weight in ounces of water each day, plus a glass of water for every alcoholic or caffeinated beverage. Cheers to a hydrated summer.
Emily Countryman is a board-certified health coach and owner of Ideal Wellness www.idealwellnesswa.com. She writes a monthly health column for this newspaper.