When the weather is hot, it’s important to drink more water; some tips for keeping your body hydrated

Staying hydrated is essential to maintaining health, especially during summer months. Aside from preventing dehydration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that water helps your body maintain normal temperature, facilitate joint movement and protection, protect sensitive tissues like your spinal cord and remove waste through sweat, urination and bowel movements.

Here are tips for staying hydrated this summer, and there are more available at cdc.gov.

Upgrade your water bottle. Buying a reusable water bottle to refill throughout the day can help ensure you drink enough water. Freezing pre-filled plastic water bottles can be a great way to make sure you have access to cold water throughout the day, especially if you plan to spend an extended amount of time outside. Consider buying a flavor-infusing water bottle to add fruit flavors to your water if you dislike the taste of plain water.

(Photo illustration from CDC)

Cut back on other drinks. Substitute water for sugary drinks like sodas or teas when you feel thirsty and consume alcohol, caffeine and energy drinks in moderation. Sports drinks can be a good way to restore electrolytes after prolonged periods of sweating and heavy physical activity, but avoid consuming them outside of regenerating electrolytes. Remember that choosing to drink water as often as possible will help keep you hydrated.

Make water part of your meals. Water is usually a drink option at restaurants, so choose to order water when given the opportunity. If you plan to host dinners or parties this summer, serve water and water-based drinks with your meals. Serve recipes with fruits and vegetables that contain water, like cucumbers and tomatoes. Whether you plan to eat indoors or outside, consider keeping a pitcher of ice water on the table during meals so guests can refill their glasses as they need to. Add a wedge of lime or lemon to your water.

Some other beverages can be part of healthy eating patterns: Plain coffee or teas, sparkling water, seltzers, and flavored waters are low-calorie choices. Low-fat or fat-free milk; unsweetened, fortified milk alternatives; and 100% fruit or vegetable juice contain important nutrients. Enjoy these drinks within recommended calorie limits. Milk contains important nutrients such as calcium, potassium, and vitamin D.

What about other beverages? Here’s what the CDC says:

• Sugary drinks: Regular sodas, fruit drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, sweetened waters, and sweetened coffee and tea contain calories but little nutritional value. Learn how to Rethink Your Drink.

• Alcoholic drinks: If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation.

Caffeinated drinks: Moderate caffeine consumption (up to 400 mg per day) can be a part of a healthy diet. That’s about 3 to 5 cups of plain coffee.

• Drinks with sugar alternatives: Drinks that are labeled “sugar-free” or “diet” likely contain high-intensity sweeteners, such as sucralose, aspartame, or saccharine. These sweeteners may reduce caloric intake in the short term. However, there are many questions about the sweeteners’ effectiveness for long-term weight management.

• Energy drinks: In addition to added sugar, these products may also contain large amounts of caffeine and other legal stimulants. Concerns have been raised about the potential health risks of these products, especially for young people.

Regularly consuming water during the summer will help you stay hydrated and healthy. Find more resources about water and hydration at nutrition.gov and heart.org.

Kentucky Health News

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