We need numerous nutrients to stay healthy, but it’s important to keep in mind that the body’s most key component is water. Here are tips to help you stay hydrated when it’s hot outside.
Water: the body’s most critical nutrient
When we think about nutrition, it’s easy to focus on food, forgetting that the most fundamental nutrient is water. We can go for quite a while without food; for instance, Mahatma Gandhi went three full weeks without it. On the other hand, we can only go a maximum of a week without water – and that’s assuming we aren’t in a hot climate.
That’s understandable when you consider that parts of our body are made up primarily of water. It accounts for 70-75% of our lean mass and 10-40% of our fat. That relates to individual water needs, of course. Athletes and men have more water in their bodies than inactive women, the obese, and others who carry greater amounts of fat.
Everyone’s hydration needs increase during the summer. Let’s look at some advice to make sure you are keeping your water supplies replenished.
4 tips for hydrating during the summer
- Keep a water bottle with you at all times, notes registered dietician Johannah Sakimura in Everyday Health. “If you have a bottle within arm’s reach,” she says, “it’s very likely that you’ll mindlessly sip from it throughout the day, without having to make a conscious effort.”
- When it is hot outside and you are working out for more than an hour, you want to go beyond staying hydrated, notes registered dietician Katherine Tallmadge in Live Science. She recommends a sports drink that includes electrolytes and 6-8% carbohydrates. This supplementation will reduce your risk of low blood sodium (hyponatremia).
- Make sure your diet contains plenty of whole foods, says Sakimura. Your hydration will improve naturally when you are eating yogurt, fresh produce, and other foods with high water content. Also limit the amount of junk food since it typically offers little water.
- When you get finished with a hard workout, you again want to focus on staying hydrated as well as boosting your stores of other crucial components, explains Tallmadge. “[Y]ou need more protein to build muscle, carbohydrates to refuel muscle, electrolytes to replenish what’s lost in sweat, and fluids to help rehydrate the body,” she says. “[C]hocolate milk is a perfect, natural replacement that fills those requirements.”
Hydration & chronic pain
Hydration is particularly important for those suffering from pain conditions. In fact, pain is often, in part, an indicator that you are suffering from dehydration.
Are you in pain? At Atlanta Medical Clinic, we help our patients avoid invasive surgical procedures while providing drug-free solutions to rehabilitate the area and provide long-term pain relief. See what our patients say.