Stay Hydrated With Fruits & Vegetables

Photo Credit: Steve Evans CC-BY-2.0
When the summer heat soars into the scorching range, it is critical that you keep your body hydrated. Drinking water will keep your body hydrated so that you can reduce your risk of heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Sports drinks can be a good choice to keep you hydrated, too. Many sports drinks contain minerals and salts that replenish the minerals and salts lost when you sweat. Sports drinks can help restore electrolyte balance as well. However, did you know that some fruits and vegetables may actually hydrate your body better than drinking a glass of water? Some fruits and vegetables can be as much as 90 percent or more water. Add some extra fruits and vegetables to your diet during hot weather to help you stay hydrated. You will also benefit from the extra vitamins and minerals. One study by the University of Aberdeen Medical School found that some fruits and vegetables hydrate the body twice as well as water or even sports drinks. 

Cantaloupe, strawberries and peaches are high in water content but also contain potassium that is essential to heart health. Potassium helps to regulate the heartbeat. When you sweat, you lose valuable potassium that can only be replaced by eating potassium-rich foods or taking a supplement. Pineapples and cherries contain melatonin and other micronutrients that help to reduce inflammation in the body. They are high in water content too. Watermelon, oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit and kiwi are all high in vitamin C. Cucumbers are 96 percent water but also contain minerals and vitamins, including calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium. Celery also contains all these minerals plus phosphorus, zinc and iron, which are essential to bone and blood health. 

The next time you exercise outdoors, pack plenty of bottles of water and take along a container of fresh fruits and vegetables to help hydrate your body. 

Protect Young Athletes from Dehydration

Photo Credit: Derrick Mealiffe CC-BY-SA-2.0
Many children play sports outdoors during the summer. Dehydration can be a risk when the weather is hot and the kids are playing. Children who engage in vigorous exercise that includes running, baseball, softball and soccer can become dehydrated quickly. Protective clothing and padding can contribute to dehydration and overheating by holding in heat and preventing the evaporation of sweat. Children who may be especially susceptible to heat-related illness include those who are overweight, rarely exercise, have a condition like diabetes and children who have recently had a cold or flu. Dehydration can increase the risk of heatstroke, heat exhaustion and heat cramps. Most team coaches are trained to prevent dehydration by providing water and drinks to restore electrolyte balance in young athletes, but don’t rely completely on your child’s coach. There are steps you can and should take to make sure your child remains hydrated during a game. 
Make sure that your child drinks plenty of water before and during a game or practice session. Take your own bottled water and sports drinks to the game or practice and make sure that your child drinks a cup of water at each break in the game. Learn the warning signs of dehydration and take action immediately if you think a child may be succumbing to a heat-related illness. Dehydration symptoms include a dry mouth, headache, thirst, cramps, dizziness and fatigue. Make sure your child knows how to recognize the symptoms of dehydration and to report symptoms to the coach or to you immediately. Left untreated with water, dehydration can result in confusion and loss of consciousness. A child that appears to be confused should be taken to an emergency room immediately. 
Dehydration is easily prevented by providing children with plenty of water before, during and after practice and games. Talk with your child’s team coach about dehydration prevention and the warning signs of dehydration. Games and practice should be cancelled or moved indoors when the temperature and humidity is high.