Beat the Heat: Expert Tips for Staying Properly Hydrated in Warmer Weather

The latest medical research shows that 75% of Americans live chronically dehydrated, a common cause of hospitalization. As we quickly move from spring to summer and temperatures across the country start to rise into the 80s and 90s, it’s critical to stay hydrated.

Many resort to plain water or sugary sports drinks without real hydration benefits. But sugary drinks can actually increase dehydration, making them counterproductive. Understanding how to hydrate oneself properly is the key to a safe summer for families.

Common Dehydration Causes

Many factors influence hydration levels, including medication, heat, physical exertion, diet, and illnesses. While water comprises most of the human body, our organs also need adequate sodium to maintain optimal function. Improper sodium and water levels pose a danger to human health. Water absorption occurs in the gastrointestinal tract; vomiting or digestive tract issues can complicate absorption processes.

If the body does not receive proper hydration, three kinds of dehydration can occur — hypotonic, hypertonic, and isotonic. Hypotonic dehydration refers to the loss of electrolytes and sodium, while insufficient water causes hypertonic dehydration. A suboptimal amount of both sodium and water can cause isotonic dehydration.

Stay Aware of Signs

Dehydration signs appear different in adults and children. Dehydrated adults can have darker urine, fatigue, dizziness, and confusion. Children experiencing dehydration have dry mouths, tongues, irritability, dry diapers, and shed no tears when they cry. Additionally, dehydrated bodies can experience headaches, muscle cramps, and fatigue regardless of age.

If dehydration symptoms do not go away following at-home care, head to a nearby hospital for immediate intervention. IV therapy, which contains both water and sodium, can provide quick and effective relief. Its intravenous administration speeds absorption and lessens the need for additional work from the digestive system.

Simple Steps To Stay Hydrated

Experts recommend that women drink at least 11 cups of fluid daily and advise men to drink around 16 cups daily, but proper hydration requires more than drinking plain water alone. Reaching adequate hydration requires sufficient mineral intake, like magnesium, potassium, sodium, and chloride. These electrolytes push water into our cells. Without such minerals, the body does not properly absorb water.

Eat fruits and vegetables rich in electrolytes. Potassium-rich foods include white beans, avocado, and potatoes. Magnesium-rich foods include spinach, dark chocolate, almonds, and brown rice. Okra, tofu, and trout contain calcium, while dill pickles and Himalayan salt contain sodium.

Add a pinch of salt to your water, or sports drinks to your routine to positively impact sodium levels. People with health concerns, like high blood pressure or dietary restrictions, should always consult a doctor before supplementing salt.

It can be easy to forget to drink water during the workday. Use a bottle labeled with times to stick to a schedule and kickstart a good habit. Set a hydration reminder on a watch or phone. Adjust fluid consumption according to personal activity level and sun exposure. Those with sunburns, too, have an increased need for fluid consumption; even if not under the sun today, you may still experience deficiency.

In addition to dehydrated bodies’ needs, the same bodies must also abstain from some behaviors. Caffeine or alcohol consumption contributes to dehydration due to their diuretic or fluid-reducing properties. Monitor overall sugar intake, as it increases urination frequency and flushes out water. This excretion process relies on the kidneys’ ability to filter properly.

Benefits of Proper Hydration

A hydrated body has supple skin, nourished organs, and a healthy mind. A 2018 research study found some mental health treatments for anxiety and depression are more effective when applied alongside sufficient water consumption. Consistent water intake increases cellular hydration, which can positively influence energy levels. Additionally, water assists the body in natural detoxification, eliminating the environmental toxins that contribute to poor health.

Hydration significantly affects energy, mood, muscle repair, and child development. Consuming more water and electrolytes is imperative in developing a hydration routine with proper fuel for individual goals. Summer weather may be on pause in some areas of the world, but it is never too soon to begin refueling your body adequately so it can do all of the things you love.

Megan Santiago | Wealth of Geeks

This article was produced by Media Decision and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.


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