The heat is on!! No, I am not talking about the Miami Heats but the temperature that has been climbing since mid-April. It is evident that we are in for one extremely hot summer. Every year we make certain preparations for summer: stock up on bug repellant, prepare to pay higher than usual water and power bills, get ready for hurricane season and the list goes on. However, there is one very important everyday task that is extremely important during the summer—staying properly hydrated. Drinking enough water and other fluids should always be a priority but especially so during the hotter months of the year because we can become dehydrated so much faster.
Water is an essential nutrient—yes, it is a nutrient. Water is a nutrient that the body needs more than any other nutrient. As a matter of fact we can survive for weeks, months or even years with a deficiency in other nutrients but can only go a few days if we don’t get enough water. Therefore, it is important that we focus on drinking water. A very common question is ‘how much water should I drink?’ Well, when it comes to your water requirement, there is not a “one size fits all” formula. The amount of water you need to function every day depends on your diet, activity level & pattern, gender, environmental temperature and humidity. However, the common recommendation of 8 cups of water per day does not hurt.
Even though I have been focusing on water alone, it is possible to stay hydrated by drinking other liquids such as milk, 100% juices and teas. Let me be quick to add though, these other liquids do not take the place of water and cannot fulfill the many roles water play in the body. For example, water:
- Helps keep your muscles and skin toned
- Assists in weight loss
- Transports oxygen and nutrients to cells
- Eliminates toxins and wastes from the body
- Regulates body temperature
- Maintains blood volume which influences blood pressure
Additionally, while other beverages, such as milk, may be a healthy choice, they all add extra calories to our day—calories that many of us just can’t afford. During the summer months, many persons’ beverages of choice are lemonade, iced tea and let’s not forget the beloved soda. Maybe indulging in one of these drinks won’t be so bad but because it is so hot here, we need to constantly reach for a drink to cool off. Here is the problem. A can of soda has anywhere from 140-220 calories and around 35 grams of sugar. If you drink just 3 sodas during the day that can easily add up to 500+ calories and over 100 grams of sugar!! Remember, we haven’t factored in the other drinks—this is just the sodas. Water on the other hand, is calorie free with no other additives.
Am I saying you are to never have another soft drink? Of course not! However, you should choose your drinks wisely. Always drink for your health today; you can drink for pleasure another day.