In the summertime, we get to enjoy outdoor living, longer days, and warmer nights. Hot, humid temperatures and outdoor exercise increase our body's demand for more hydration due to sweating and to adequately support the body's thermoregulation. When you find yourself thirsty it's a sign that your body is already dehydrated.
So what can we do to keep enjoying this time of year and stay adequately hydrated?
The obvious answer is to drink more water and other hydrating beverages but, that's not the only way to easily stay hydrated. You can drink and eat your way to better hydration by following these tips:
- Eat raw fruits and vegetables which have lots of water and give our bodies what they crave in summer. Eating raw foods also gives you essential nutrients in an easy, grab, and go style that fits in with our summer lifestyles. Consider berries, cucumbers, carrots, red peppers, celery, cantaloupe, and of course, watermelon. These foods consist of 87%-95% of water!
- Make thirst-quenching smoothies from your favorite fruits and vegetables. Be daring and find your own favorite mix of different foods keeping in mind to add 1 more vegetable, especially leafy greens, than fruit in your recipe to avoid having too much sugar in your drink. Add fat like avocado or nut butter and protein like hemp or soaked chia seeds (add 3 tablespoons of chia seeds to one cup of water before using, they hold 10 times their weight in water!) if you want it as a meal replacement.
- Make sorbets and ice cream from frozen fruit. Did you know you can make banana soft serve ice cream with just frozen bananas and a high-speed blender or food processor? Freeze two-inch slices of freshly peeled bananas for 5 hours and then pulse about 15 times adding a few teaspoons of water if necessary, scraping down the sides if needed to combine to reach a smooth texture. This can be done with any frozen fruit alone or in combinations!
- Make coconut water ice cubes in your ice cube trays to add chilled sweetness to your smoothies, water, or mock cocktails. You'll also be adding potassium, B-vitamins, electrolytes, and magnesium while keeping the sugar and calorie content low.
- Add produce to every meal. Sneak leafy greens like spinach, arugula, and baby kale into wraps and sandwiches, homemade pesto, and even pureed into your wet ingredients when baking or making pancakes. Chop cauliflower or pulse in your food processor to sprinkle on salads for a bit of crunch.
- Make Chia seed pudding by mixing three tablespoons of chia seeds in one cup of almond milk and chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. Once set enjoy it topped with fruit and a drizzle of honey or maple syrup for a hydrating snack or dessert.
- Create spa waters like this recipe for Cucumber Mint Water that takes only minutes to make.
1 large cucumber
3 cups of water
1. Peel cucumber and slice in half, lengthwise.
2. Scoop out seeds with a spoon.
3. Cut the cucumber into small chunks.
4. Put cucumber and water into a blender and puree.
5. Serve immediately
Garnish each drink with a mint leaf or wedge of lime
For a crisp taste add a handful of mint leaves when blending.
Also enjoy homemade salsa (see recipe below) with your meals, as a part of your wrap sandwiches, and on green salads to boost hydration!
Black Bean and Mango Salsa
Source: Food and Wine Magazine, June 1996
Makes approximately 2 1/2 cups
(Use organic ingredients if possible)
1 cup black beans, either soaked overnight or drained, rinsed canned beans
1 ripe medium mango, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
1/2 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 medium jalapeno chile, seeded and finely chopped
1 medium scallion, minced
1 1/2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
Pinch of cayenne powder
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
In a bowl combine black beans, mango, red bell pepper, jalapeno,
And scallion. In a small bowl combine lime juice, oil, vinegar, ginger, sugar, salt, and cayenne Fold the liquid mixture into the black bean salad
Stir in the cilantro and serve chilled or at room temperature
An optional add-in from my own experimentation: add 1 medium ripe peach to black beans and other ingredients to make it peach-mango black bean salad!
Can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 6 hours Enjoy!
1) Armstrong LE, editor. Heat acclimatization: Internet Society for Sport Science. 1998. [Google Scholar]. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908954/#R29
2) Popkin, B. M., D'Anci, K. E., & Rosenberg, I. H. (2014). Water, Hydration, and Health. Science American, 10(6).