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Staying Hydrated in the Summer

Hydration is a key, and often overlooked, part of overall nutrition. Staying hydrated (AKA drinking enough fluids), as dramatic as it sounds, is necessary for our bodies to function properly. Water helps our bodies to keep a normal internal temperature, flush out our systems and help lubricate our joints. Now especially, at the start of hot summertime, it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re staying properly hydrated.

How Much Water Should You Be Drinking?

Recommendations for fluid intake varies across different experts and professional organizations. In general, many will recommend eight 8-fluid ounce glasses of water per day across the board. Most recently, the Institute of Medicine of The National Academiesrecommended 3.7 liters, or 15 1/2 cups per day, for adult men; and 2.7 liters, or 11 cups per day, for adult women.

If this sounds like a lot of water – that’s because it is. The catch here is that this fluid intake can be from many things, besides just water. Beverages like coffee and tea, and even foods with high water contents (think: crisp cucumber and juicy watermelon, both in season now through August and September!) all count towards our daily water goals.

How to Know if You’re Drinking Enough Water

Dehydration can come on quickly, especially during hot summer days where we produce more sweat (read: lose water) and consequently, need to drink even more fluids. Most commonly, dehydration is caused by extended physical activity in the summer heat without adequate fluid intake.

Signs of dehydration include: headaches, fatigue, dry mouth and excessive thirst. Ideally, we’d all drink enough fluids before getting to this point of dehydration; but, if you notice you’re veering towards feeling dehydrated, try these tips to up your fluid intake.

  1. Plan ahead

In a perfect world, we’d all bring reusable water bottles everywhere and easily find places to refill our water bottles. But, this doesn’t always happen, and whether we’re rushing out the door or staying out for longer than we expected, sometimes it can be hard to remember to bring enough water with us. Plan ahead by always keeping a reusable bottle in your bag or in your car. That way, whenever you can, just fill this bottle with whatever fluids you’re in the mood for. And, if you change bags or leave your bag at home, simply run to the nearest convenience store as soon as you can to grab a bottle to keep with you. Once you have that bottle with you, it’s easier to set yourself up for success the rest of the day.

  1. Mix it up

Many people feel that water can get… well, boring. Personally, I love a sweet glass of lemonade when it gets hot outside. Here’s the problem though: sugary drinks can actually reduce the amount of water our bodies retain, making us more likely to get dehydrated. Not only that, but these sugary beverages often have much more sugar than we even realize – a gallon pitcher of sweet tea contains almost 200 grams of sugar, on average, equaling about 775 calories and far more than the total daily limit for added sugars recommended by the (no more than 6 teaspoons (24 grams) and 9 teaspoons (36 grams) of added sugar per day for women and men, respectively)1. Ditch the sugar and still enjoy your beverage by sweetening with SPLENDA ZERO® Liquid Sweetener. This handy product adds sweetness to your drink without any calories or sugar. Try it with a squeeze of lemon for a quick lemonade without any added sugar, or check out the Raspberry Mint Iced Tea recipe below.

  1. Eat hydrating foods  

Finally, another easy way to get your fluids in is to focus on hydrating foods. Conveniently, the fruits and veggies with the highest water contents are all in season in summer. Vegetables like cucumbers and zucchini are made of about 95% water, while spinach, peppers and red cabbage aren’t far behind – all with a water content of about 92%. Similarly, watermelon and strawberries are both comprised of 92% water, while cantaloupe, peaches, blueberries and raspberries are pretty high in water too – all made up of around 85% to 90% water. Try grabbing any of these summertime foods as any easy snack or adding them to your meals. They’ll contribute to your daily fluid intake and give you some micronutrients – a win-win.

Raspberry Mint Iced Tea

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 cup raspberries

1 lemon, juiced

4 cups water

8 squeezes SPLENDA ZERO® Liquid Sweetener

1 small bunch fresh mint, plus more for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Add raspberries, lemon juice, water and SPLENDA® Sweetenerto a blender.  Blend until well combined.
  2. Pour mixture through a sieve to remove seeds and thicker pieces.  (Discard or place in a plastic bag and freeze to add to smoothies.)
  3. Muddle mint and place at the bottom of each glass, if pouring separately, or at the bottom of the pitcher if making one pitcher.  
  4. Pour beverage on top of mint, over ice.  Garnish with more mint leaves if desired. 

One 8 fl. oz. glass: 20 calories, 2 grams sugar

Entire pitcher (4 servings): 80 calories, 8 grams sugar

**By using this recipe with SPLENDA ZERO® Liquid Sweetener you are saving 2 tsp of sugar per serving = 32 calories

If sugar was used, here’s what it would look like:

One 8 fl. oz. glass: 50 calories, 10 grams sugar

Entire pitcher (4 servings): 200 calories, 40 grams sugar

This blog post is sponsored by SPLENDA® Brand. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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