According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, daily fluid intake is defined as the amount of water consumed from drinking, and eating. Surprisingly, even a food like oatmeal is an excellent way to boost fluid intake. Staying hydrated is vital during this record heat to prevent illness, so consuming the most hydrating foods and beverages is important, says Healthline.
When too much water is lost from the body, its organs, cells, and tissues fail to function. If dehydration isn’t corrected immediately, it could cause shock. The general recommendation is that women need 11.5 cups of fluid daily and men need 15.5 cups, says the Mayo Clinic. But this amount varies for individuals on the go, athletes, and people exposed to high temperatures. According to the Cleveland Clinic, when you are healthy and hydrated, your urine should fall somewhere between colorless and the color of light straw or honey. When you don’t consume enough fluids, your urine becomes more concentrated and turns a darker yellow or amber color.
According to experts, drinking water isn’t the only way to get enough daily fluids. Foods and drinks that are also hydrating:
• Oatmeal. Dr. Natalie Azar, NBC medical news contributor, and an assistant clinical professor of medicine and rheumatology at NYU Langone, says that oatmeal absorbs the water or milk it cooks in and is very hydrating. “If you don’t want to eat hot oatmeal, make the overnight version in your refrigerator,” she says. Overnight oats pack all the benefits of hot oatmeal with no heat.
• Milk. According to a study by McMaster University, milk is more hydrating than water or sports drinks due to its source of protein, carbohydrates, and electrolytes, according to MedExpress.
• Smoothies. With the yogurt and fresh fruit like berries whirled together, tasty smoothies can keep you hydrated for hours. Azar also suggest making smoothies with hydrating vegetables such as cucumbers, lettuce, bell peppers, and celery.
• Fruits and vegetables. Lyssie Lakatos, a registered dietitian with The Nutrition Twins, tells Newsmax that the food you eat can also help keep you hydrated in the summer heat. “Focus on getting ample fruits and vegetables because they contain as much as 95% water,” she says. “Lettuce, tomatoes, berries, cucumbers, grapefruit, oranges and melons are great options.” Lakatos warns not to eat directly before a workout in the heat because digestion requires blood and energy and diverts blood away from the muscles that will be working during exercise. A helpful pre-exercise meal could be a piece of fruit with a little nonfat Greek yogurt or a banana with a tablespoon of peanut butter consumed at least an hour before a workout.
• Frozen fruit. Fill popsicle molds with a hydrating fruit like blended watermelon and freeze. You can also mix in strawberries and kiwi fruit for an attractive, cooling treat, says MedExpress.
• Cold soup. Blend cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, onions and garlic cloves for this satisfying soup, a version of the classic gazpacho.
• Tea and coffee. Azar says that iced tea and coffee are excellent for summer hydration. She warns not to overdo the espresso as this can have a diuretic effect and dehydrate the body.
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