KEEPING IT REAL COOL – HYDRATE

The dog days of summer are in full swing and I’m going to say something probably shocking to many-I actually love heat and humidity. Anything below 60 degrees Fahrenheit and I feel chilled to the bone. The hotter the better as far as I am concerned.  But with the sweltering weather upon us, I have to be extra careful that I hydrate appropriately and don’t get dehydrated since I can stay out in this heat bath much longer than many people can.
While a glass of water served straight up is the best defense against torrid conditions, let’s face it, water can be a downright bore.  Over the years I developed a few tasty ways to incorporate high water content foods into my daily eating when drinking plain water just won’t do. Probably my favorite trick of all is to freeze berries and grapes and eat them slowly-they are sweet, satisfying and hydrating. When sharing this idea with colleagues of mine, I found they too had some fun ways to keep cool and healthy well beyond a glass of H2O.
But first, lets look at a few pointers while trying to hydrate properly. “Avoid high sugar/high caffeine beverage and even ice cream! These cause additional dehydration from the body, increasing internal heat,”says Mandy Unanski Enright, MS,RDN, RYT. She goes on to say that it isn’t wise to cool off with a beer or cocktail. “While they taste refreshing, alcohol acts as a diuretic causing the body to lose fluids”. She also suggests avoiding spicy foods in extreme heat, as they increase body temperature.
“One of the best ways to healthfully hydrate (especially this time of year), is to treat water like a Sangria and fill a pitcher and then add lots of luscious fruit”, so says Bonnie Taub-Dixon, RDN,Founder of BetterThanDieting.com and author of Read It Before You Eat It.  “Cut up watermelon, peaches, berries and mango to give water a refreshing, naturally sweet taste. This colorful blend of Mother Nature’s gifts will not only leave you with a glass of a clear beverage with benefits, but you’ll also get the added bonus of a the refreshing fruit within, filled with an array of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients. Basically…goodness for the body and taste buds!”
Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD, says there is more than just water to drink “Drink milk! Ward cites a recent NYT Wellness article that stated that when beverages contain nutrients and electrolytes like sodium and potassium as milk does, the stomach empties more slowly with a less dramatic effect on the kidneys as other beverages may do. Ward also suggests to eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. They are packed with fluid.
Canadian registered dietitian Rosie Schwartz says reach for the green tea. Despite popular belief, tea is actually not dehydrating. “Steep a pot of green tea and cool it for a cold refreshing beverage. Not only does green tea contain compounds that may boost metabolic rates or calorie burning capacity, but research also links it to protection against skin cancer. Add fresh mint to the mix for a change of pace.”

Holley Johnson Grainger, MS, RD thinks way outside the glass and looks at the bowl instead. “Soup is a fantastic way to stay hydrated since most are water-based, however, something hot may not be top of mind when the temperature is sweating outside. Try a cold gazpacho or a chilled cucumber soup to meet both your hydration and veggie needs.”

And finally, Amy Gorin, MS, RDN suggests eating high diuretic vegetables and fruits to do the trick of keeping you hydrated and her favorite way is to actually add heat–that is, from the grill! “Watermelon, for example, is 91 percent water, while asparagus is 93 percent water. I love to grill fruits and veggies in the summer, accented with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar reduction.”

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