Summertime brings with it beautiful, warm weather. It’s my favorite season because of the sunshine, clear skies and the freedom to do what you want more. However, with that warmer weather comes sweat and sometimes dehydration. People’s activity levels sometimes go up in the summer–playing sports, swimming, dancing, etc. This is a great way to enjoy one’s body and also to detoxify it through the sweat. However, we have to be more careful to put water back into the body. We need to drink more, but what should we drink?
What dehydrates us? Drinks that Don’t Quite Do the Trick
Some things that dehydrate us are consuming alcohol, sugar, and sodium (salt). You can also become dehydrated because of diarrhea, vomiting, or frequent urination. Caffeine doesn’t cause dehydration but it does cause frequent urination and some doctors consider it a mild diuretic (see http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/dehydration-check-your-symptoms). People think that beer is helpful for hydration, but the opposite is true. So if you’re thinking that’s going to help you put fluids back in your body, you’re only half right. Yes, it puts fluids in but it takes a lot for your body to process it out and most people can agree that it’s not a healthy alternative to good old-fashioned water. But does water relax you the beer does? No, I cannot lie. This begs a few questions, however. Are you trying to “refresh” or hydrate yourself, or relax, or both? What are some other ways you can relax instead without putting wear and tear on your liver? How can you make your life relaxing and handle stress so that alcohol doesn’t sound tempting?
For some reason, many people are against drinking just plain water to re-hydrate. They need to have flavor and pizzazz to their drink. However, some of the drinks that are supposedly good for replacing electrolytes, like Gator Ade, have sugar in them (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gatorade). Paradoxically, the very thing that you’re drinking to replenish fluids, has something that dehydrates you: sugar. When you read the label of a drink, or anything you consume, look for the words that end in -ose. Fructose, sucrose, dextrose are all simple sugars that your body breaks down quickly, which is not healthy for your blood sugar level. People also think they’re getting a healthy drink in Vitamin waters, but they are getting enough sugar for the whole day in one drink. Is that helpful to your wellness goals? I think not.
Alternative Hydration: Thinking Man/Woman’s Drink
If you need to have flavor in your water, consider the juice of lemon, which actually alkalizes your body and doesn’t contain nearly as much sugar (see http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/6-benefits-of-liver-cleansing/?gclid=CK7s9-fr180CFUVsfgodd8kFww). The little fructose in those fruits is so small that it’s not likely to raise your blood sugar and some say it has a cleansing effect on your liver. Other options are making “sun-tea” with herbal teas. I like Celestial Seasonings’ Blueberry, Red Zinger, Lemon Zinger, etc. They flavor the water without adding a lot of sugar and while they might not be as convenient as Gator Ade or Vitamin water, I believe they are a lot healthier.
Drinking fresh-made juice of vegetables and fruits is an even healthier alternative to the pre-bottled drinks like Gator Ade. Not only are you getting hydration, but you are also getting a huge dose of micro-nutrients delivered straight into your body. Again, it’s not as convenient as a bottle you can lug around with you, but again you might want to ask yourself what you’re willing to do for your health. Maybe a way to make it more convenient is to juice in the morning, put the contents in a thermos, or put it in a container that you store in a small ice chest. That way, it’s there for you in the afternoon when it gets hotter, and you don’t have to consume unwanted calories.
So enjoy your summer and if you’re drinking beer, soda, Gator Ade, or Vitamin water to cool down, I urge you to rethink your drink.