Nutritionists’ Pantry — Hydration for Hot August Days

Nutritionists’ Pantry — Hydration for Hot August Days

  • posted on: August 7, 2017
  • posted by: Robin Crowder
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By Amanda Bullat, MS RDN CN Amanda leads our culinary education program at 21 Acres. 

Whew, it’s been a hot one! The 21 Acres’ culinary education team and I are all a little on the wilted side for sure. As many people know, but only few people do adequately, staying hydrated in these toasty temps is so important for many reasons. Our bodies have a pretty tight regulatory system in terms of keeping cool and sweating is one of the ways we regulate our internal thermostats. When it’s hot out, it can be astounding how much fluid we lose from sweat and breathing in addition to our typical urine output. Clients are often ask me, “So, how much should I be drinking each day?”

Like everything else in nutrition “it depends” on individual needs. General rule of thumb for most people is around 2-3 liters (64-96oz) of un-sugared, un-caffeinated beverages per day.

When the environmental thermometer goes up, however, we may need an additional liter per day. I realize this can seem like quite a lot to most people and you’re probably thinking, “Oh my, I’ll be going to the bathroom all day!”

Our bodies tend to adapt to increasing our fluid intake, so frequent urination usually decreases over time. I typically suggest clients take in 1 liter (32oz) before 10am, another liter before lunch, and additional liter before heading home from work or by 5pm. This way it can be more manageable and you’re less likely to have to wake up to relieve yourself in the middle of the night. So, what constitutes an un-sugared, un-caffeinated beverage or other hydration sources? Here’s a list of a few of my favorites for beating the mid-summer heat:

*Good ol’ water, consider adding a few leaves of mint or slices of cucumber for a little pizzazz;

*Herbal teas such as lemon balm, nettle, rose hips (will be tangy and tart like lemon), or herbal blends such those from Flying Forest Botanicals out of Bellingham and available in the 21 Acres Farm Market;

*Try adding frozen berries or melon chunks to water for chill with flavor;

*If you tend to get muscle cramps or headaches from dehydration, try adding watermelon cubes and a pinch of sea salt to water for additional potassium (170 mg per 1 cup cubed), natural sugar, and sodium for electrolyte balance.