Drink Up!

Last summer, our family had a scare when my 20-year-old son fainted in the middle of the day, on his way to get lunch in town. At the ER, we were relieved to learn the cause was just dehydration – the temperature was over 90 degrees and it was unbearably humid, and James, having woken up at the crack of noon, hadn’t yet had anything to eat or drink.

He was lucky – heat-related illness can be dangerous. Heat makes you perspire, which cools you down but also makes you lose fluid (obviously). We all know, except certain 20-year-olds apparently, that when temperatures are high, it’s important to stay hydrated. We also know that in the midst of our summer fun we’re supposed to avoid caffeine and alcohol – but, really?

Here are some realistic tips for avoiding dehydration:

  1. Don’t wait to get thirsty – drink water throughout the day. Extended periods outdoors can be a bit of a challenge, though, if there’s not a snack bar or (ew) water fountain nearby. If you don’t want to lug along a cooler, check out the hydration daypacks used by hikers that hold gear and a reservoir of water.
  2. Nibble on fruit and vegetables with high water content, like cucumbers and lettuce (96%) and strawberries and watermelon (92%).
  3. Can’t make it through the day without a caffeine jolt? Go for iced coffee, and limit yourself to two cups.
  4. Alcohol’s supposed to be a no-no, so when you imbibe, use a mixer like water or juice, and alternate each cocktail with a glass of water.
  5. Drink organic cold-pressed juice. In addition to counting as nutritional servings of organic fruits and vegetables, juice provides hydration. Just make sure you choose a brand like Living Juice with no sugar added.

Now – everyone in the pool!

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