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7 Ways to Stay Cool and Hydrated: Navigating Summer Heat in Oklahoma

7 Ways to Stay Cool and Hydrated: Navigating Summer Heat in Oklahoma

As the temperature rises in Oklahoma, the significance of maintaining proper hydration becomes paramount, particularly during the hot summer months. But have you ever wondered why staying hydrated is crucial?

Water isn't just a thirst quencher; it's a fundamental element that keeps all bodily systems functioning optimally.

From regulating body temperature to reducing the risk of kidney stones, urinary tract infections and constipation, water is the unsung hero of maintaining your well-being.

Here's why you should pay extra attention to hydration and how to ensure you're staying adequately hydrated.

Understanding Dehydration

Dehydration occurs when your body loses more water than it takes in through fluids or food.

Various factors influence your water requirements to prevent dehydration, including temperature, activity level, sweat production and health status.

Common symptoms of dehydration include thirst, dry tongue, thick saliva, nausea, headaches, dizziness, confusion, tiredness, increased body temperature, decreased urine output and leg cramps. Being mindful of these symptoms can help you stay vigilant about your hydration levels, especially during the scorching summer months.

However, it's essential to strike a balance. While dehydration is a concern, overhydration can also be problematic, although rare. Thus, finding the right fluid intake level is crucial to maintaining your overall health and well-being.

Determining Your Hydration Needs

The amount of water your body requires varies based on factors such as age, sex, activity level, and underlying health conditions.

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, on average, women need approximately nine cups (72oz) of hydrating fluids per day, while men need around 13 cups (104oz) to replenish lost fluids.

Remember, these are general guidelines; individual fluid needs depend on various factors and should be adjusted accordingly.

A simple "color check" of your urine, preferably in the morning, can offer a quick indication of your hydration status. Light-yellow urine suggests adequate hydration, while dark yellow or amber-colored urine signals the need to increase your water intake.

Staying Hydrated: Practical Strategies

To maintain proper hydration, consider these practical tips:

  1. Consistent Water Intake: Drink water throughout the day. Listen to your body – if you're thirsty, take a sip.

  2. Limit Sugary Drinks: Opt for water over sugary beverages to avoid unnecessary calories and maintain proper hydration.

  3. Always Have Water On Hand: Carry a reusable water bottle with you to ensure you have access to hydration wherever you go.

  4. Use a Straw: Using a straw can make drinking water more convenient and encourage you to consume more fluids.

  5. Hydration Reminders: Set reminders to sip water regularly, especially if you're engrossed in work or other activities.

  6. Include Hydrating Foods: Foods with high water content, such as watermelon, lettuce and grapes, contribute to your hydration. Around 20% of your daily fluid intake can come from food. Some fruit and vegetables have more water content than others.

  7. Electrolyte Balance: If you're sweating or feeling unwell, consider electrolyte-rich drinks to maintain fluid balance and prevent muscle cramps.

Food for Hydration

Certain foods are excellent sources of hydration. Options with high water content (90-100%) include watermelon, cantaloupe, strawberries, lettuce, cabbage, celery, spinach and squash.

Foods with moderate water content (70-89%) include bananas, grapes, oranges, pears, pineapple, carrots, broccoli and avocado. Some dairy products like yogurt, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese and fat-free milk also contribute to your daily fluid intake.

As the summer months unfold, prioritizing proper hydration becomes pivotal for enjoying long, sun-drenched days while ensuring your well-being. So, embrace these tips, stay hydrated, and savor the season while staying as cool as a cucumber!

Article byGrace Hernke, MA, RDN, PRN Clinical Dietitian, Norman Regional