Summer is quickly approaching, bringing scorching temperatures and an increased risk of dehydration along with it. Though it’s common knowledge that consuming more fluids on hot days is a good idea, there are also many foods you can consume that can help replenish fluid loss from sweating and prevent dehydration.
Dehydration occurs when you lose more fluid from your body — usually as sweat — than you are drinking, resulting in a deficit of fluid in the body.
When we lose a lot of fluid as sweat, it needs to be replenished, and this often does not occur as quickly as the body needs it, resulting in signs of dehydration.
During hot days, choose foods that have high water content such as watermelon, strawberries, coconut water, and cucumbers to help replenish lost fluids.
On hot days, it is important to avoid consuming foods and drinks with diuretic effects because they can cause more fluid to be lost as urine.
This article explores the best foods for refreshment on a hot day.
What is dehydration?
Dehydration occurs when you lose more fluid from your body usually as sweat than you are drinking, resulting in a fluid deficit. Without enough fluid, the body has difficulty performing its usual daily functions which can result in severe health problems if left untreated. The signs and symptoms of dehydration to look out for include:
- Dry mouth
- Extreme thirst
- Less frequent urination
- Dark-colored urine
- Fatigue and weakness
- Muscle cramps
- Low blood pressure
Why does heat cause dehydration?
The main reason you are at higher risk of becoming dehydrated in the summer months is related to excessive sweating. Sweating is the body’s way of compensating for elevated temperatures, but it can quickly become extreme, especially in very hot climates.
When you lose a lot of fluid as sweat, it needs to be replenished, and this often does not occur as quickly as the body needs it, resulting in signs of dehydration.
The most obvious answer to this issue is to consume large amounts of water on hot days, but there are also foods to consider that will help you restore lost fluid from sweating.
Top 4 foods to stay hydrated
Here is a list of foods that will help you survive the heat waves this summer.
Just as its name implies, watermelon is composed of over 90% water, making it a great food choice for hot days. And the benefits of this fruit don’t stop there. Watermelon is loaded with antioxidants and vitamins that help boost your overall health while helping prevent dehydration. One of the best parts about this food choice during the summer months is that it goes great with other foods on the summer barbecue menu.
Fruits are a food group containing some of the highest water contents out there, so it is no surprise that strawberries are another great source of fluid replenishment on hot days. Small but mighty, these little fruits are made of over 90% water, helping boost any fluid loss you may have experienced from the heat.
Cold and refreshing, eating strawberries offers a great way to rejuvenate after being outside in the heat. And if you’re looking for a different way to eat them, try mixing them up in a nice cold smoothie that’s sure to be refreshing as an afternoon snack on a hot summer day.
3. Coconut water
If the thought of drinking plain water bores you, think about switching it up with some coconut water. This drink is 95% water but also contains many electrolytes which can help replenish those that were lost in your sweat. An added benefit of coconut water is that it is more flavorful than plain old tap water, making it more enjoyable to drink. And if it’s more enjoyable to consume, you’re likely to drink more of it, which helps with the prevention of dehydration.
Cucumbers are another food option that is high in water content at just about 95% of its composition. Beyond that, this vegetable also contains a lot of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. It’s easy to feel good about consuming food that can not only help prevent dehydration but may also help prevent some effects of aging.
Foods to avoid during heat waves
Consuming foods that have a high water content is a must on hot days, but what foods should be avoided? Basically, you want to try to avoid eating or drinking anything that has diuretic effects, meaning they cause you to urinate more frequently. Consuming these kinds of foods will increase the amount of fluid lost as urine, which worsens the dehydration already experienced from excessive sweating.
Foods and drinks with diuretic effects that should be avoided include:
- Coffee or other caffeinated beverages
- Sugary drinks and sodas
So, while you’re enjoying those backyard barbecues and all the other fun summer activities, be sure to be mindful of the fluid and foods you are consuming. Drink plenty of water and try to consume foods that have a high water content to help replenish lost fluids.
- Cleveland Clinic. Dehydrated? These 7 foods will satisfy your thirst and hunger.
- Fitoterapia. Phytochemical and therapeutic potential of cucumber.