By Yvette Johnstone, Contributing blogger
Drinking enough water throughout the day can be a difficult task but an important one to not overlook. Every single cell in your body requires water to regulate your body temperature, keep your skin healthy, and to function optimally. And if you already aren’t drinking enough water, dehydration can quickly creep in when the summer heat hits.
More than half of your body is composed of water and loses water through normal, everyday activities like breathing, eating, and sweating - which we all do a lot of in the summer!
While focusing on increasing your regular water intake is always a good start, it’s a lot easier said than done. Instead of lugging around a giant water bottle with you wherever you go, try focusing on these simple and enjoyable ways to stay hydrated all summer long.
1. Eat more watermelon
Watermelon is a summer staple and chances are you can find slices at almost any picnic or summer gathering. This melon has a whopping 92% water content as well as electrolytes such as sodium, magnesium, and potassium that can keep you feeling more hydrated than just plain water.
2. Experiment with homemade popsicles
Next time you are craving a cold, sweet treat, swap out your regular ice cream for a homemade popsicle made with hydrating ingredients. Not only are these healthier for you overall, you can load up your popsicles with ingredients like watermelon, coconut water, and other fruits.
3. Try a hydration multiplier
Hydration multipliers are the latest craze to hit the wellness scene. These packets of electrolytes easily dissolve in a glass of water and are designed to deliver the same amount of hydration as three glasses of water but in just one glass. Try adding one into your mid-day glass of water or after a period of increased activity.
4. Sub skim milk for water (yes, really!)
Studies have shown that skim milk can hydrate more effectively than water after a workout due to its electrolyte and protein content. Since it contains more water than 2% or whole milk, but still contains the beneficial nutrients, try drinking skim milk the next time you’ve worked up a sweat during one of your many summer activities.
5. Have a salad for lunch
Salads often get a bad rap for not being super filling. But when you load up your salad with a variety of ingredients you’d be surprised at how filling (and delicious) they can be! Focus on making your salads with hydrating ingredients like lettuce, chopped celery, cucumbers, and bell peppers, all of which contain over 90% water.
6. Make more smoothies
Green smoothies are a great way to get in more of those hydrating superfoods like celery, leafy greens, and cucumber. Switch up your usual breakfast and have a smoothie instead. Throw in some fruit for a little sweetness and extra hydration and you can sprint out the door to whatever fun summer activity you have planned that day - smoothie in tow!
7. Swap pasta for zoodles
Zucchini contains 94% water and makes a delicious noodle substitute when spiralized. If you are a pasta lover this swap can be a game changer for hydration levels. But if the idea of giving up your beloved pasta is just too much, add a side of zucchini to your meal instead.
8. Avoid too much salt
Even though your body requires sodium to keep you hydrated, too much can actually mess with your kidneys, throw your body out of whack, and dehydrate you by taking water from your cells where it's needed! Avoid processed foods as they tend to contain higher levels of sodium and choose clean, whole food sources as much as possible that you can season yourself.
9. Watch your alcohol intake
Summer provides many opportunities to enjoy an alcoholic beverage, but these can be extremely dehydrating since they decrease your body’s anti-diuretic hormone which is responsible for helping your body absorb water. Since that also causes you to urinate more frequently, vital electrolytes also get expelled in the process. If you are drinking this summer it’s extra important to drink a glass of water after every alcoholic beverage you drink, preferably with added electrolytes.
10. Shift your mindset
Not all of your hydration has to come from plain water. Just like skim milk can be hydrating, other beverages like ice tea, coffee, and sparkling flavored waters like La Croix can be too. But what about coffee and tea being dehydrating? As it turns out, that’s only if you are drinking copious amounts of each. So it’s ok to drink these in moderation each day, just remember to choose beverages without added sugar to take full advantage of these drinks’ hydrating benefits.