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dehydration

Fresh Options that Hydrate

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Summer has officially arrived, and boy, has it been hot! I sat out by my pool in my condominium complex this weekend and simply could not digest enough liquids. With the heat and humidity, it is very important to get in those recommended eight glasses of water a day. This is especially true during this time of year when we tend to be out and about more, attending events, like art festivals, farmer’s markets or just going for a walk in our local metro park.

One thing people tend to forget is the amount of heat contained in cement. Sidewalks, paths and roadways become heat conductors, radiating heat upwards and through the soles of our shoes. If you ever wondered why you feel especially drained or thirsty after walking around a festival or on a 5K, that would be the reason.

I am a water lover. I drink it all day long. I actually pour a 32 oz. cup in the morning and drink it while I am getting ready for work, summer or winter. My mother, on the other hand, prefers to pour her eight 8 oz. glasses of water throughout the day. She wills herself to drink one roughly every hour until she is done. And she drinks them straight down. “I don’t like drinking water,” she said.

If you are like her, you may want to seek out alternatives from drinking water to eating it instead. Yes, you heard me. You can eat water. There are loads of fresh fruits and veggies readily available during the summer and they are packed with nutrients and….water. Double whammy!

Here is a list of the top choices and their water equivalents:

  • Watermelon – ah, one of my favorites. One tasty wedge serves up 10 ounces of water. Yes, please!
  • Like peaches? And yes, I am talking about a fresh peach. These little gems have 5 ounces. Let the juice flow.
  • Just one cup of these sliced little red berries also serves up 5 ounces of hydration.
  • How about those vegetables? Cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini and corn on the cob—so good for you and best picked fresh—have four and three ounces, respectively. Water done right the easy and healthy way. Sign me up!

Speaking of corn on the cob, don’t shuck and run. Keeping corn in their little husks also keep the nutrients IN. Think about that the next time you are grilling, steaming or microwaving. Do it after.

Hmmm….now, what’s for dinner?

The Importance of Staying Hydrated

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Hot temperatures can be a danger for anyone. For older adults, heat stroke and heat exhaustion are a real problem, making a little extra TLC important during time outdoors when it is hot. There are several reasons for elderly heat vulnerability. As we age, the ability to notice changes in our body temperatures decreases. Many older adults have underlying health conditions, and along with the medications taken for those conditions, their bodies are less able to adapt to heat. A few simple precautions are all that is needed to keep your loved one safe from summer’s heat.

Hear are some guidelines for keeping safe in hot weather:

  1. Drink plenty of liquids. Dehydration is the root of many heat-related health problems. Drink plenty of water or juice, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Avoiding alcohol and caffeinated drinks is a smart choice, as they can actually contribute to dehydration.
  2. Wear appropriate clothing. When it is hot, wear light colored, lightweight, loose-fitting clothing and a wide-brimmed hat.
  3. Stay indoors during mid-day hours. During periods of extreme heat, the best time to run errands or be outdoors is before 10am or after 6pm, when the temperature tends to be cooler.
  4. Take it easy. Avoid exercise and strenuous activity, particularly outdoors when it is very hot.
  5. Know the warning signs of heat-related illness. Dizziness, nausea, headache, rapid heartbeat, chest pain, fainting and breathing problems are all warning signs that help should be sought.

Dehydration can easily be treated by replacing fluids, but should not be taken lightly by the elderly. Lack of fluids deprives the body of vital nourishment and its ability to cleanse itself. Water plays a vital role in regulating the body’s normal temperature. A good formula for how much water is needed every day is to take one-third of the person’s body weight in pounds and drink the equivalent number of ounces of water daily. For example, a 150-pound woman would need 50 ounces of water daily, or about 6 eight ounce glasses of water. Remember, severe dehydration requires medical attention; if you see any signs or even just suspect it, call your doctor.