Easy Ways to Stay Hydrated When the Temperature Soars 

By Sally Squires

With an historic heat wave gripping much of the nation this summer, staying well hydrated is more important than ever. The National Academy of Medicine suggests that men, 18 years and older, need to consume 13 cups of fluid; women, the same ages, need to consume nine cups of fluids daily.  

That’s because being well hydrated not only helps prevent overheating, but also lubricates joints and tissues, assists with digestion and keeps your skin healthy.  

Trouble is, many people fall short on staying hydrated even during normal temperatures. That’s why experts, including Harvard’s School of Public Health, suggest being proactive in drinking plenty of fluids all day especially when the mercury soars. Don’t wait to feel thirsty—an indication that you may already be slightly dehydrated. 

Even being just a little dehydrated—say missing about two percent of what you should be consuming –can produce symptoms, which include fatigue, confusion, short-term memory loss and mood changes such as irritability and depression. Dehydration can also increase the risk of medical problems including urinary tract infections, kidney stones, gallstones and constipation.  

The hotter the temperatures and the higher the humidity, the more important it is to make sure you get enough to drink. Here are some easy ways to stay hydrated: 

  • Sip water throughout the day. Start by filling a 20-to-32-ounce container with water, consume it and refill at least a couple of times per day. Tired of drinking plain water? Try sparkling water. Or add slices of fruit (lemons, limes, oranges, mango) or herbs and spices (ginger, mint) for extra flavor.  
  • Drink a glass of water at every meal and snack. 
  • Eat plenty of water-filled foods, including watermelon, cantaloupe, salads, grapes, cherries, plums, spinach, lettuce, watercress, endive, radicchio, and tomatoes. Cold soups, aguas frescas (fruit flavored non-alcoholic Mexican drinks) and smoothies are other water filled options.  

Of course, also be smart and go easy on caffeinated, sugar-sweetened and alcoholic beverages. Caffeine and alcohol can act as diuretics, which means they help promote water loss. Alcohol and sugar-sweetened beverages also come with added calories and help to add unwanted pounds.  

Find recipes for agua frescas at the Food Network and more tips on healthy hydration from the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the government’s Health and Human Services Department. Make your own iced tea. Keep a container in the fridge. Or create your own bubbly water with a carbonated drink maker at home. The Well-Equipped column at Epicurious, which evaluates kitchen gear and cookbooks, recently tested home soda makers. Find their top picks here.  

How do you stay hydrated during the summer? Leave your tips here.

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