Summertime is in full swing and many of us spend more time outdoors enjoying the longer, sunny days. Older adults, however, are more prone than younger people to heat stress.
Their bodies don’t adjust as well to sudden changes in air temperature. In addition, they’re more likely to have chronic medical conditions or take prescription medications that change the normal body response to heat or affect body temperature or sweat regulation.
How much should you drink to stay adequately hydrated? The average American adult gets 37% of their daily fluid from water, 46% from other beverages, and 17% from food. The Institute of Medicine recommends that the average woman consume about 9.5 cups of fluids from drinks per day and the average man consume about 13 cups of fluids from drinks per day. This seems like a lot, but you need to make allowances for individual variations or factors. Some factors include body size, activity or sweat level, or medical conditions or medications that limit fluid intake or call for increased intake. One of the best ways to make sure you’re hydrated is to check your urine – it should be pale yellow. Darker? Drink up! If in doubt, check with your doctor or health care provider for individualized guidance.
Here are some tips to help you stay well-hydrated all year round:
- Drink a glass or two of water when you wake up, even before you have your morning coffee or tea.
- Enjoy your morning coffee or tea. It used to be thought that caffeine was dehydrating, but that’s not necessarily the case.
- Drink water with all of your meals and snacks.
- Take small water bottles with you whenever you go out, and refill them at every opportunity.
- Flavor your water with packets of crystallized lemon or lime. You can also add slices of real fruits such as oranges or lemons, berries, or even cucumber or fresh herbs such as mint to enhance the flavor of plain water.
- Add a splash of 100% fruit juice to iced seltzer water to make a refreshing spritzer.
- Drink milk or milk-alternatives daily. Milk is a great source of calcium, protein, riboflavin, and vitamin D and is almost 90% water.
- Limit soda and other heavily sugar-sweetened drinks unless you are underweight and can use the extra calories. There are a few very lightly sweetened juice and water drink products on the market and consuming those in moderation should be fine for most active people.
- If you drink alcohol, limit it to one glass per day for women, and two for men. Drink a glass or two of water between drinks as alcohol has a diuretic effect, meaning it can contribute to dehydration.
- Don’t wait until you feel thirst to drink. Thirst, dry mouth, dark yellow urine, fatigue, dizziness, or irritability may be symptoms of dehydration.
So sip, slurp, or munch away to keep dehydration at bay!
Here are two refreshing and easy recipes to help you hydrate.
One is a chilled, tomato-based veggie soup full of crunch and flavor, and the other is a morning smoothie packed with protein, fiber, and good fats to get your day going.
Quick Classic Gazpacho
Slightly adapted from Ben Shapiro/Allrecipes
2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
½ cup water
2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow or red pepper, cut into ¼-inch dice
1 small red or sweet onion, cut into ¼-inch dice
1 small/medium seedless cucumber, cut into ¼-inch dice
1 garlic clove, minced or ¼ tsp garlic powder
Pinch of red pepper flakes, or half of a seeded, minced fresh jalapeno (optional)
2 TBSP sherry, red wine, or cider vinegar (or substitute fresh lime or lemon juice)
2 TBSP fresh herbs such as basil, cilantro, or parsley
Salt and ground black pepper
Process ½ cup of tomatoes, along with the water and oil in a blender or food processor until pureed. Transfer to a medium bowl, along with the remaining ingredients. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate for a few hours before serving to allow the flavors to blend. Enjoy!
Rose’s Morning Smoothie
Original recipe by Rose Clifford, makes one 28-oz smoothie, recipe can be halved or ingredient amounts adjusted for your preferences.
10-12 ice cubes
12 ounces cold water
One medium banana
One heaping TBSP peanut or other nut butter
¾ cup plain Greek yogurt
1 heaping TBSP dry rolled oats
2 tsp chia seeds
1 TBSP ground flax seed, such as Bob’s Red Mill
One scoop of chocolate protein powder (such as Orgain Organic Plant-Based Protein Powder in Milk Chocolate)
Place ice and water in a blender jar, followed by the remaining ingredients. Process on “pulse” or “crush ice” setting for about 15 seconds and then on puree or liquefy (whatever makes sense for your blender) for about 30 seconds until well-blended. Shake will thicken on standing and may be refrigerated for a few hours.