As the weather gets hot and steamy in the summer, you probably wear lighter clothing, shift what you eat and make sure to apply sunscreen frequently. What often gets overlooked is what to drink. Staying well-hydrated not only quenches your thirst, but it can also help keep you energized, control hunger and enable you to stay the course to lead a balanced, active life. To help you better hydrate this summer, here are three simple tips to keep in mind.
1. Drink plenty of fluids before, during and after activities.
It’s a no brainer to reach for something to quench your thirst after a workout. What many people don’t know is that it can be just as important to get hydrated before and during summer activities, especially as the mercury rises. Experts with the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association note that water intake improves overall mental and physical health. It also bolsters heart function while reducing both actual and perceived exertion. So how much should you drink? The Institute of Medicine recommends that women drink 11 eight-ounce cups per day, equal to about 91 ounces. Men need more: 15 cups per day—or a total of 125 ounces. If that sounds like a lot, know this: fluid from all foods and beverages, including those with caffeine, count toward the daily goal. To make sure you are always well quenched, keep an extra supply of water in your car, garage, poolside or another other easily accessible place. And remember, water isn’t the only option - there are plenty of other choices in a range of flavors, calories and sizes to help keep you hydrated in the summer months and all year long.
2. Help hydrate with diet beverages (you read that right!).
You might have read that diet beverages will make you gain weight, but that’s simply not what the science shows. In fact, there’s plenty of scientific research to support the opposite. A recent clinical trial published in the journal Obesity found that dieters who drank diet beverages as part of an overall weight-loss program not only lost more weight than those who drank only water, but they also reported feeling less hungry. So, it’s a win-win: diet beverages can help in your efforts to shed pounds and quench your thirst - and your desire for sweet – all at the same time.
3. Eat your water.
Nearly everyone falls short of consuming the nine daily servings of fruits and vegetables, which are filled with a wide variety of nutrients and are generally very low in calories. So here’s one more reason to help motivate you to boost consumption of produce: fruits and vegetables are packed with water.
Among the leading water-filled fruit is the aptly-named watermelon, as well as strawberries and cantaloupe. All are 90 percent or more water. Leading vegetable hydrators are lettuce, tomatoes and celery, which contain as much as 95 percent water.
Bottom line: Summer is an important time to stay hydrated—a habit that will serve you well year-round. In addition to making you feel better in the short term, staying hydrated has been shown to help reduce the risk of other long-term chronic health problems, such as heart disease, hypertension, exercise asthma and hyperglycemia.
For more tips to ensure that you and your family stay hydrated while enjoying summertime fun, visit eatright.org.
This blog is brought to you by the American Beverage Association.
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