Hydration - with the temperatures so high here in the Okanagan, the topic of hydration becomes a “hot one”. While it’s truly an issue especially in the summer, we need to keep hydration in mind all year round. Most people know the key facts about the importance of water, as in that the body is approximately 70% water, and how much we can loose by sweating, talking, moving, sports, travelling, and so on. However, even with knowing those facts, mostly people forget, don’t plan, or may not use the right types of liquids to help their bodies prevent the lack of that precious fluid.
What I would like to touch on are a few of the key aspects to why it is important and ways to keep on top of keeping hydrated. Our body is an electrical vessel. Our brain communication system is electrical. Just like if a bolt of lighting hit a lake, that electricity travels the whole lake because the water is an amazing electrical conductor, our brain uses it the same way as well.
We need lots of fluid in our bodies for proper and optimal function, but our brain takes a big hit when we run low. Remember that if you feel low energy or brain drain - add some water. Same thing with our heart - it too is electrical. The HEART.ORG website explains that the heart works with less effort and pumps more easily to get blood to our muscles. All areas of the body are affected, like digestion, where we need water to create digestive juices, as well as to help keep our bowels moving. Those areas are critical for health. If those benefits don’t quite motivate, maybe knowing that water is the key to lessening wrinkles in the skin - keeping skin plump and moist - may be helping to keep in mind.
Being proactive with hydration means drinking extra water the day before you know you will be outside for a long time, or doing a sporting event, etc. Hopefully consuming an optimal amount of water just becomes a daily habit. Aim for take your body weight in pounds and divide that in half and that is how many ounces of water that is needed for regular hydration (150lbs = 75 ounces of water at minimum). Add more when heat, exercise, and other dehydrating tasks come along. Water is best, but you can improve the absorption of that by adding either lemon or a pinch of unrefined salt, both good for electrolytes.
Also - Coconut water is an incredibly hydrating drink - better than the other commercially used drinks. We have used it many times to quickly correct overheating at kids baseball games with great success. Many foods can add to our water intake - cucumbers, watermelon, celery are high ones, but most fruits and vegetables will add to your intake. If your drink coffee or alcohol or pop, those can negate an equal amount of water, so make sure to add more water if consuming those dehydrating beverages to cancel that out.
In the end, everyone is different on their needed amount, so just watch for signs and try to keep from feeling thirsty as you are already dehydrated when thirst shows up. Watching the color of urine can be an indicator of needing more water. It should be light yellow or clear. Dark and cloudy means you likely need more water.
Add cucumber or watermelon or berries to make water more interesting with subtle refreshing flavour. The real fruit infusion has many more health benefits compared to mixing in crystal flavour packets. Enjoy these dog days of summer!