An Exploration Into Hydration
By Vanessa Patterson
This summer has been filled with seemingly endless days of truly hot weather; environment Canada has issued a heat warning for a total of 11 days during June and July so far! A heat warning is issued when the humidex value is expected to reach 40°C or more, or when the temperature is expected to reach levels ranging from 29°C to 40°C or greater depending on your location. When a heat warning is issued people should take extra caution when spending time outside.
It’s been hot in Mississauga and we’re all feeling the consequences. What you may not realize is that hydration is key to staying healthy during these summer months and to avoid severe illness.
People have become desensitized to the signs of dehydration and many adults don’t even realize when they are dehydrated. Most of the time a slight state of dehydration isn’t too much of a concern, but add 30-degree temperatures for days on end and it can turn into a more serious issue. Symptoms of dehydration include dry mouth and nasal passages, headaches, lethargy, and dizziness.
The discussion concerning how much water someone should drink has been heavily debated. Most abide by the widely accepted minimum of eight glasses of water a day. This guideline was first published in dietary guidelines published by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences in the United States. Eight glasses of water a day is a good place to start but it neglects some important factors. The amount of water one should drink is heavily influenced by different characteristics: Such as gender, physical activity and age. Women are recommended 2.7 litres of water per day while men are recommended 3.7 litres. Hot weather and exercise calls for additional water intake due to increased sweating and as we age the body cannot retain water like it once did. These factors should be considered when trying to figure out the best way to stay hydrated for you.
5 Do's and Don'ts of Hydration
Don’t wait to drink until you feel thirsty
Do drink more water than usual
Don’t forget your water bottle when leaving the house
Do drink before, during, and after physical activity
Do drink frequently and in short intervals
There are many exciting ways to keep hydrated this summer in addition to your eight glasses. Fruits and vegetables are made almost entirely out of water and make wonderful snacks, helping you to reach your hydration goals.
The suitably named watermelon makes a great treat during a hot summer day and has a water content of 92%. Why not get creative and make a fruit salad considering strawberries, peaches, cantaloupe and pineapple all have a water content of over 85%.
Don’t like sweets? No problem! There are dozens of vegetables that contain just as much water. Spinach, green peppers, celery, and cucumbers all consist of over 90% water!
If you are unsure about how to stay hydrated or suspect you are ill due to a lack of hydration contact your family doctor or seek medical attention.
Staying hydrated can be easy and delicious. Try the recipe below and stay hydrated! It's a unique spin on the traditional fruit salad that will be sure to help with hydration!
Hydrating Fruit Salad with Honey and Mint
Prep Time: 10 minutes
- 1/2 small seedless watermelon, chopped (about 6 cups)
- 1 pint strawberries, quartered
- 1/2 pint blueberries
- 3 Persian cucumbers (or 1 seedless cucumber), sliced
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- 1 pinch salt (optional)
- Combine the fruit in a large bowl.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, honey, fresh mint, and salt (if using). Pour over the fruit and toss to combine.
- Refrigerate 1 hour, or until thoroughly chilled.
If you would like to see the original recipe or other interesting recipes head to: