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Foods to help you stay hydrated this summer

by Aleza Freeman

We all know what it feels like to be parched, but did you know that lightheadedness, nausea and fatigue are also signs that you need a drink?

Water is not only good for your health, it’s essential to your survival. Even when you’re slightly dehydrated, you’re likely to feel washed up and wrung out.

If you struggle with your daily water intake or you’re looking for creative ways to stay hydrated this summer, read on.

We’ve got the downlow on H2O as well as some easy recipes so you can “go with the flow.”

Hello, hydration!

Our long-forgotten resolution to drink more water usually reaches its boiling point during the summer. The hotter weather makes us sweaty (and thirsty), even when we’re not at the gym. Plus, it’s swimsuit season; no time for dry skin and bloating.

Staying hydrated isn’t just a seasonal goal though. It’s important for your body and your brain all year-round.

Along with a glowing complexion and weight management, water aids pretty much every function of your body:

  • Regulates temperature
  • Removes waste
  • Lubricates joints and organs
  • Transports nutrients
  • Provides cellular and tissue structure
  • Preserves cardiovascular function

Water also plays a role in cognitive function (it makes up 70 percent of your brain, after all). One study shows that a water loss as small as 1 to 2 percent causes disruptions in:

  • Mood
  • Concentration
  • Alertness
  • Short-term memory

Dry spell

Considering that the earth is more than 70 percent water and our bodies around 60 percent, it makes perfect sense that water is so important for our health.

Dehydration occurs when you lose more water than you’re taking in. Sometimes this happens because you’re not drinking enough. Sometimes it’s due to symptoms of sickness like diarrhea, vomiting, fever and excessive sweating.

Those who are chronically dehydrated are more likely to experience urinary tract infections, slower wound healing and even kidney failure.

According to MedicalNewsToday.com, some signs of dehydration include:

  • Thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth, eyes and lips
  • Darker urine
  • Unclear thinking

Dehydration can also cause an imbalance in your electrolytes, chemicals in your body like sodium, potassium, calcium and bicarbonate, which conduct electricity when mixed with water. They are lost during exercise due to sweating and as the result of the rapid loss of fluids, like with vomiting or diarrhea.

Symptoms of an electrolyte imbalance can range from twitching and weakness to seizures and heart rhythm issues.

Mild dehydration is usually helped by drinking fluids, but it’s always best to consult a doctor if you’re unsure.

Fast Fact: There is no scientific consensus, but the National Academy of Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board recommends that women consume 2.7 liters (11 cups) of water and men, 3.7 (15 cups), through foods, water and beverages. Various other sources recommend a goal of eight glasses of water a day but acknowledge this amount may vary by age, season and lifestyle.

Drink Eat your water

Your reusable water bottle is a helpful tool for your health and the environment, but let’s face it.

Sometimes even we get tired of plain drinking water.

Fortunately, there are other ways to stay hydrated.

About 22 percent of our water consumption comes from the foods we eat, some of which are almost entirely water. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, the following foods are 90-99 percent water:

  • Cantaloupe
  • Strawberries
  • Watermelon
  • Lettuce
  • Cabbage
  • Celery
  • Spinach
  • Cucumber

Fruit juice, yogurt, apples, pears, oranges, carrots and cooked broccoli are also hydrating foods with 80-89 percent water content while bananas, avocados, baked potatoes, cottage cheese and ricotta cheese come in at 70-79 percent.

Many other foods contain high water content, but beware: sugar and oil have none.

Hydrating recipes

Next time you’re feeling hungry, opt for foods that are high in water content and electrolytes. You can also incorporate them into your general diet for a sneak hydration attack.

Try these easy and delicious recipes at your next summer soirée:

Melon Salsa

Fruit salad is as summery as sun dresses and sandals. This refreshing twist on the typical fruit salad will spice up your season with the hydrating power of cantaloupe, cucumbers and lime juice.

Get the recipe

Watermelon Pizza

Who doesn’t love pizza? With watermelon crust and a berry, mint and coconut garnish, plus a slathering of ricotta and cream cheese, this low-carb pizza is a delicious dessert any way you slice it. There’s nothing dry about this pie.

Get the recipe

Strawberry Balsamic Lettuce Wraps

Let us tell you about lettuce wraps, a fun alternative to boring salad. These tangy wraps are held together by vitamin A-packed butter lettuce (no actual butter included) then topped with hydrating strawberries, goat cheese, pecans and balsamic glaze.

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Blueberry Spinach Smoothie

This super smoothie combines lots of fruits and veggies including spinach, strawberries, bananas and detoxifying blueberries. It’s even more hydrating if you make it with nonfat milk. We’ll drink to that!

Get the recipe

Infused water

Many fruits and veggies with high water content lend themselves perfectly to infused water—a fun and easy way to make plain drinking water a little more enticing. Just add your desired combination of ingredients like strawberries, cucumber, lemon and lime to a pitcher of ice water and drink within two to three days.

Get the recipe

Avocado Electrolyte Soup

There are plenty of recipes out there for electrolyte drinks, but it turns out you can eat your electrolytes too. Fruits and veggies like the lime and avocado in this soup help replace sodium and potassium, and they taste delicious.

Get the recipe

Electrolyte Popsicles

Another fun alternative to an electrolyte drink, these citrus or cherry electrolyte pops will electrify your summer. They’re also a gentle, hydrating treat during cold and flu season.

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Healthy Otter Pops

With hydrating fruits like pineapple, strawberries and bananas, plus electrolyte-filled yogurt, these easy-to-make popsicles are both tasty and healthy. Plus, your kids will love them.

Get the recipe

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Aleza Freeman