Summer is officially here, and like always, it’s bringing the heat. If you’re outside at the beach for more than a few minutes, you probably notice yourself needing to hydrate. Unfortunately, the defining attributes of summertime—hot temperatures, humidity and direct sunlight—are a recipe for dehydration.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to stay inside all day if you want to stay healthy and hydrated. But it does mean that you’ll need to take extra measures to make sure your body is getting the right hydration it needs to function properly despite the heat.
Here’s a quick list of dos and don’ts for keeping yourself hydrated throughout the summer!
WHAT TO AVOID:
1. Coffee, sodas and energy drinks. An ice-cold Coke or iced coffee might sound like the perfect solution to a hot day, but in reality these highly-caffeinated beverages will only dehydrate you more. Caffeine is a diuretic, so drinking a lot of it when you’re out in the heat is only going to make you thirstier.
2. Extended periods of time in direct sunlight. The longer your body is exposed to sunlight, the more dehydrated you will become. If you’re spending a day at the beach, make a point to hang out under a tent or go inside every so often to give yourself a break from the direct sunlight.
3. Alcohol. Although it’s often a staple at pool parties and outdoor barbecues, alcohol, like caffeine, pulls water from the body, causing dehydration. If you’re going to be drinking in the heat, make sure you’re taking in extra water to make up for all the water you’re losing.
WHAT TO GO FOR:
1. Pure, cold, filtered water. There’s just no substitute for the real thing. Water is the No. 1 way to hydrate. More than half of your body is made of water, and dehydration is your body’s way of screaming at you to replenish that water.
2. Other hydrating beverages. Coconut water is a great alternative to traditional sports drinks that doesn’t have added sugars or chemicals. It is naturally hydrating because of its high electrolyte content. If you want to go for a sports drink, try to find one that isn’t high in sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Often the tastiest sports drinks are the most loaded with sugar and other unhealthy additives.
3. Fruits and veggies high in water. Many fruits and vegetables can help you stay hydrated because they are made up of mostly water. Among these hydrating foods are tomatoes, watermelons, strawberries, grapefruit, lettuce and cucumbers. Try to include cooler snacks when you head to the beach or your next cookout this summer.