With so many activities on your plate with summer holidays beginning, whether it heading off to a nice beach, cycling, road trips, it’s easy to get well into your day without realizing that you’ve barely had anything to drink. It’s important to remember that our hydration needs change and become more urgent as the mercury rises.
People with diabetes need to be extra careful when it comes to replenishing their fluids in summer. If our blood glucose levels are higher than they should be for prolonged periods of time, our kidneys will attempt to remove some of the excess glucose from the blood and excrete this as urine. Which means water is escaping our bodies faster than it’s being replenished. Increasing thirst in a person with diabetes, therefore, is often as sign of high blood glucose levels.
The amount of water you need to drink depends on your weight, body composition, how much you eat, and activity levels. The average adult men need about 3 liters and women about 2.2 to 2.5 liters. It’s always best to listen to one’s body signals as our brains are highly attuned to our needs. Notice when you’re thirsty or fatigued, as these can be signs of mild dehydration. Also pay attention to the color of your urine. Your urine should be clear, not yellow or orange which is sign of dehydration. If you’re outside lounging near the pool or working outdoors, carry a water bottle and keep sipping. Thirst is also often mistaken by people for hunger. A good way to avoid eating when you actually need water is to drink up when you feel cravings and observe if they go away, especially if you’ve eaten less than 2 hrs earlier.
About 20% of your fluid is taken in via the foods you eat. Fruits and veggies typically have high water content. If you exercise or sweat during the day, you’ll need to replace that water with at least an additional 1-3 cups.
Try these tips and stay hydrated:
- Start your day with a Glass of water, it will help detoxify your system too
- Carry your water bottle to work and place it right in front of you on your desk
- If you have a 16 oz / 1 ltr water bottle, make it a goal to refill your water bottle at least three times throughout the day
- Add fruits and vegetables with high water content to your diet. These include cabbage, spinach, squash, watermelon, citrus, cantaloupe and strawberries
- Add flavor to your water: add few slices of lemon/ orange, few leaves of mint; crushed ginger, strawberries, cucumber etc.
- Stay away from juices (you definitely don’t need that extra sugar!)
- Make sure to drink fluids during exercise, especially if you’re exercising outdoors or in a hot climate
- Coconut water has always been popular, and for good reason – it’s a naturally occurring electrolyte drink. It’s similar to our own blood and is absorbed more quickly than water through our intestinal walls, which means faster recovery! It’s also low in sugar and contains amino acids, vitamins and antioxidants
- Have buttermilk or smoothies (without additional sugar)
- If you’re flying this summer, remember, an airplane cabin is a low-humidity environment, which can leave you dehydrated and more susceptible to jet lag
- Eat a balanced diet to get all the essential electrolytes from your diet
- Avoid low sodium salt unless prescribed by your doctor – sweating leads to sodium depletion
- Limit tea and coffee intake to 2 cups a day as they contain large amounts of caffeine which are diuretics i.e., increase urinary output. Avoid alcohol and sodas for the same reason.
So, what’s your favorite way to stay hydrated and energized this summer?