Video to Accompany Post!
Hi everyone, during this heatwave we are having in the Northeast, we’re going to continue to talk nutrition with the subject of Hydration. Hydration, simply put, is the process of replacing water which is lost from our body, each and every day. Here are the main ways we all lose water from our bodies:
- Sweat (evaporative cooling)
Why do we need to stay hydrated? Our bodies are made up mostly of water, over 60% Water is essential to virtually every bodily function, including our metabolic functions, circulation, and of course thermo-regulation (temperature control). When we become dehydrated, we can experience symptoms such as headache, dizziness, lack of energy, and failing to stay hydrated during hot weather can lead to heat exhaustion.
When talking Hydration and replacing lost water, the key word really is water. If you drink other beverages, you still need to make sure you are getting enough water to stay hydrated. How much water do you need? The answer is, it depends on many factors:
- Body size
- Activity level
- Environmental conditions (like, when its really hot!)
Guidelines vary, the most standard one you have probably heard is eight 8 ounce glasses per day; however one guideline to live by is to make sure you sip water consistently throughout the day, because you lose water consistently throughout the day. If you wait until you feel thirsty, chances are you are already dehydrated. You need to make consistency and time your ally when it comes to staying hydrated, do not wait and try to play quick re-hydration in the hot weather!
A word on other beverages, anything with caffeine or alcohol is a diuretic, which is going to have a dehydrating effect on your body. If you enjoy a morning coffee or tea, as an example, make sure you have some water with it or shortly after to mitigate the diuretic impact. Additionally, any beverage with naturally occurring (or added) sugar, is going to be higher glycemic index and have impact on your blood sugar.
See my previous post to learn more about Glycemic Index: https://10minutetakeaways.com/2019/07/08/lets-talk-nutrition-the-glycemic-index/
Sports Drinks and hydration can be a topic for another day, if you are interested in a deeper dive, please comment or message me!
These days, please be mindful of the source of your drinking water. Municipal tap water is often purified by means adding chlorine (in small amounts) in order to kill micro-organisms and bacteria. Anything in tap water is, supposedly, “not harmful in small amounts”. Tap water will often contain dissolved solids due to the delivery methods (often a series of metal pipes). Another unfortunate reality today are environmental chemicals such as pesticides and herbicides which used commonly and end up in ground water and drinking water.
Since we need to drink so much water each and every day, assuring purity is crucial. I personally don’t trust the sentiment that chemicals and dissolved solids are not harmful in small amounts, and would prefer to limit them whenever humanly possible. Here are some of the most pure and clean water sources you can find:
- Distilled Water: Distilled water is boiled, and the steam from this boiled is recollected and cooled for drinking. This process kills any micro-organisms, and removes dissolved solids.
- Deionized Water: Process in which manufactured Ion Exchange Resins are combined with water and extract the dissolved solids.
- Reverse Osmosis Filtration: Water is pushed through a semi-porous membrane to remove impurities, and often passes under a UV lamp to sterilize microbes.
Distilled Water is often very attainable and affordable at your local supermarket. You can also purchase a Water Distiller or Reverse Osmosis Filtration system for your home if you were so inclined, obviously you would want to price out a purchase like this and compare to the cost of purchasing drinking water over time.
Quick tip for the summer heat:
Make sure you are aware of the thermic effect of food when you are planning your outdoor activities and cookouts. What is the thermic effect of food? Glad you asked! Essentially, the thermic effect of food is an increase in your metabolic rate following a meal, you actually burn calories while you eat! Pretty cool, right? Now, obviously eating in access does not result in weight loss (quiet the opposite), and this is because the thermic effect of food only makes up a very small percentage of your overall energy expenditure.
Why is this important to account for on a hot day? If you are out in the sun, and potentially doing some physical activity at the same time such as yard games, you are already increasing your metabolic rate and activating the thermic effect of exercise (same idea, just generated by exercise rather than eating a meal). If you stack a meal, and in particular a larger than average meal on top of these factors, you may be in for some heat related symptoms (fatigue, nausea, dizziness to name a few) which will take the wind out of your summer sails very quickly.
The tip for today is to be aware of all of the different ways heat and metabolic activity can impact us on a hot day, and plan activities accordingly!
Please let me know if you have any questions, stay cool my friends!