Healthy Hydration

During these hot days of summer, we would be remiss if we didn’t talk about the importance of hydration and give you some creative suggestions for ways to stay hydrated. Staying hydrated is an important piece of The Mediterranean Diet.

We all know that drinking water is essential. And, we should strive to drink half of our body weight in ounces of water each day. For example, a woman who weighs 140 pounds should be drinking about 70 ounces of water a day. If you are very active and sweating a lot, then you’ll need even more water.  Soda and caffeinated beverages should not be included in this goal. In fact, they hinder your hydration goals. Sugar and caffeine are dehydrating, and we need to drink additional water if we consume these types of beverages.

However, gulping down a big glass of ice water may not actually be the best thing for our thirsty body on a hot day. Water that is room temperature is much easier for our bodies to assimilate and absorb the molecules. Shocking our system can have the opposite of the hydrating effect that we desire, sometimes resulting in a stomach ache.

If we have been sweating a lot and have lost too much salt, we need to replenish our system. That is why some people reach for energy drinks, or sugary drinks. But refined sugar is especially bad for us when we are depleted. It will make us feel good for a short while, but then we’ll feel even more tired and depleted when we crash after the sugar high.

Before Gatorade and other energy drinks were developed, people made their own delicious and healthy replenishing drinks. They would take a jug of water and add a small amount of fruit juice, a pinch of salt, even a bit of maple syrup. These additions to water make it easier for the body to absorb it, and add minerals and vitamins that help with replenishment.

Switchel (water infused with ginger, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and maple syrup) is a drink that likely originated in the Caribbean, and in the 1900’s it became the go-to beverage for New England farmers during the hot haying season. It is now making a comeback, as companies in Vermont and Brooklyn are now brewing and selling this traditional favorite.   And, it’s very easy to make it yourself! Here is a recipe, courtesy of eatingwell.com

Enjoy, and remember to stay hydrated while you’re out enjoying the summer!

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