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Staying Hydrated in the Summer : Important for Overall Health

Have you drunk your water today? This summer’s heat wave has brought temperatures soaring well into 40 C, leaving Canada reaching for that bottle of H2O to try and cool down.

Now, as much as a glass of water with a slice of lime by the poolside is refreshing after a days work in the sun, paying close attention to your hydration, especially in the summer is a crucial aspect of our health.

According to a study done by Health Canada, the average Canadian adult drinks only about 1.5 litres of water per day, which includes the water used in drinks such as coffee, tea, and juice. These are shocking amounts considering that our bodies are 60 percent water. It is suggested that the average adult consume about 8-12 glasses of water per day which is approximately 2-2.5 litres, and of course, if you exercise or are spending time in the heat, you should drink more to avoid dehydration.

So yes, we’re all slacking.

Ensure You’re Getting Enough

Proper hydration is responsible for optimizing blood pressure, regulating body temperature, lubricating joints, moving waste out of the body, and also aids in digestion. It is also responsible for providing essential nutrients to the body. Yes, you can find nutrients in food; however, water is most important. You can last for some time without food, but only days without water. Although most of us would associate dehydration with extreme thirst or fatigue, do you know lack of water consumption can affect your brain as well? Our brain is made up of around 73% water. Our thinking and cognition can suffer if we don’t keep hydrating ourselves. Have you ever found yourself suffering from a foggy brain at work, making mistakes you usually wouldn’t? Or have you all of a sudden come down with a massive headache for no apparent reason? Chances are you're dehydrated and your body is trying to tell you "I’m thirsty."

So what’s the solution? The obvious answer— drink more water. However, if you. like myself live a busy on-the-go lifestyle, finding time to chug 8-12 glasses in a day might seem daunting, or even downright annoying because you're not about to have your bladder interrupt you every 5 minutes. This doesn’t have to be the case. There are loads of creative and simple things you can do to contribute to keeping yourself hydrated without downing bottle after bottle of water.

Here are a few ideas you should add to your summer routines:

Invigorate your taste buds with infused water. Not a fan of water? Spice up your water experience by infusing your water with your favorite fruits. Get a refreshing spa-like beverage, without any added artificial sweeteners or preservatives.

Eat your water. Only about 70-80% of your daily hydration needs to come from water. What about the other 20-30%? Well, all whole fruits and vegetables contain some amount of water. Strawberries, spinach, peppers, and melon can deliver up to a half-cup of H2O per serving. Next time you head out to do groceries make some of these water-rich produce your staples:

  • 97% water: Cucumbers

  • 96% water: Celery

  • 95% water: Tomatoes, radishes

  • 93% water: Red, yellow, green bell peppers

  • 92% water: Cauliflower, watermelon

  • 91% water: Spinach, strawberries, broccoli

  • 90% water: Grapefruit

Cheat with Chia Seeds. Chia seeds are hydrating nutrient powerhouses. These tiny seeds absorb water up to 12 times their weight. When you consume chia seeds that were soaked in water before you exercise or while you enjoy a day in the sun, the seeds will slowly release that water as your body digests them, keeping your system hydrated. Plus, they are an excellent source of Omega-3s and many other nutrients.

Go nuts for coconuts. Coconut water that is. Mineral-rich, packed with potassium, magnesium, sodium, and calcium- coconut water can replenish lost fluids and electrolytes from exercise and hot summer temperatures. Try freezing coconut water ice cubes or pops for a refreshing, hydrating summer treat.

What Else You Can Do

Other things you can do to help yourself stay hydrated this summer include drinking water instead of snacking since our bodies sometimes confuse hunger with thirst. Or how about making it your resolution only to drink water, removing coffee or juice from your diet. Maybe you forget how much you need or drink in a day? How about investing in a reusable water bottle? Why add to the harm to the environment, when you can avoid plastic water bottles altogether with a refillable water bottle. Remember every conscious effort helps, and in the end, your body will thank you for keeping it in mind.

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