Lillian Minter, MS, RDN, CDN
Team Leader CT Dietary Service
Please remember the importance of keeping everybody and yourself well hydrated, especially during the Spring and Summer seasons.
Hydration is one of the top components of a healthy lifestyle. Once the weather begins to heat up in spring and summer, water losses can increase and lead to increased fluid needs to maintain hydration. Though water can also be found in some of the foods we eat like fruits and vegetables, choosing better beverages can contribute to overall nutrition and help with improving energy and hydration.
Watch for signs of dehydration – When we do not drink enough fluids during the day, our body can have a hard time functioning well. Fluid plays a large role in digestion, removing waste, and transporting nutrients in the body. Hydration can help to promote bowel regularity and reduce constipation, especially when consuming a diet high in fiber by eating whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Water in the body can also help to lubricate and cushion joints and organs, manage body temperature, and help to digest food. It can also help to correct false hunger cues, as thirst may be confused with hunger, and keep us on track with meeting nutrition goals.
Signs and symptoms of dehydration may include thirst, dark colored urine, dry lips or mouth, irritability, headache, dizziness, fast heart rate, confusion, low blood pressure, cold hands or feet, or even fainting. Watch for these symptoms, especially during hot weather or during physical activity, and work to give your body the fluid it needs.
Set a goal! One way to encourage hydration is to set goals of how much fluid to drink each day, everybody should have a fluid intake goal. This can be with timing by having a beverage after along with each medication time, along with each meal/snack, and an additional beverage in between meals. Another trick can be done by placing markers on a water bottle with smaller goals of how much to drink at certain times of the day. By following these tips and choosing better beverages, this can keep kids and adults accountable to meet fluid goals!
We recommend at least 64 ounces of fluids daily.
Choose the right drinks – When choosing better beverages, stick to beverages that have zero calories or are low in calories to prevent excessive energy intake. Regular sodas, sweet tea, juices, or sports drinks can have as much as 9 teaspoons of sugar in only 8 ounces. One serving of juice is only 4 ounces, and just like any sugary beverage, these should only be consumed very rarely.
Choosing plain water, sparkling water and infused water instead can reduce sugar intake and keep you hydrated without having an energy crash during the day. You can even feel free to make your own lemonade or caffeine-free tea at home. For staying cool in the summertime, take ice water and add cut fruit, cucumber, basil, citrus, or mint for a refreshing drink to beat the heat and stay hydrated and cool on a warm day!