Staying Hydrated & A Healthy Summer Corn Salad
Water water everywhere!
Clearly I am just dreaming, or hallucinating…I am not sure which. This summer seems to be ramping up to be one of the hottest in a while (or do we say that every year?). But seriously,
it . has . been . hot.
I, admittedly, need to remind myself to stay hydrated, drink more, especially in this heat. While keeping a water bottle on hand and indeed in hand clearly isn’t second nature to me it should be! I know that our bodies are comprised of about 75-60% water (b,d), and I know that we can only survive a couple of days without water (b), and I know that water performs major functions in the body, and yes I know water is life giving so why isn’t my water bottle attached to me in this heat??
Let me preface my little rant and self wrist-slapping with when I do hydrate and how…I do have my routine (as we all do) that my body is used to and comes to expect. I have a large glass of water waiting for me in my bathroom when I get up in the morning, yes I took a note from Cameron’s book (well, The Body Book to be exact) and followed her routine. I do agree that it makes you feel alive and rejuvenated after a night’s sleep! Water leaves the body through skin and breathing all the time, even when we are catching our zzz’s (b). I also hydrate after my morning run or workout. Did you know that you should be weighing yourself before and after a workout to see how much fluid you loose as sweat to know for sure how much you need to be drinking to replace what you lost?? Studies show that for every pound you loose you need to be replenishing with 1 pint of water (c). There are potentially serious issues if you aren’t sweating during exercise or other vigorous activity as you are probably already dehydrated and heat exhaustion can develop (c). I hydrate throughout the day sipping on either hot or cold unsweetened, naturally caffeine free tea and also through my diet which is weighted heavily on fresh fruit and vegetables. I also try and add interest to my water that I have with and in between meals by adding different flavour combinations to my glass such as fresh cucumber and mint, lemon and lime, strawberry and orange etc.
Variety is the name of the game with me as drink palatability is important when you need to drink a lot (b).
We do get water from more sources than what comes through our taps. We get water from other beverages that we drink (no sorry, we can’t count ALL beverages that we drink 😉 ), from foods that we eat (how is your fruit and veg intake??) and from the oxidation of macronutrients (d). How much all of these sources contribute to our hydration is dependent on our individual diet. In the U.S. it is estimated that ~22% of our daily water intake comes from our food (d).
Staying hydrated is important on many levels. There, of course, are the biological responsibilities that water has:
– Regulates body temperature
– Keeps tissues moist (think mouth, eyes and nose)
– Protects body organs and tissues
– Helps digestive system work efficiently
– Helps fuel the body by making minerals and nutrients accessible
– Helps lubricate joints
– Helps flush waste products from body
– Helps carry nutrients and oxygen to cells
And then there are the more macro roles that water plays. For example, if athletes loose as little as 2% body weight in water while training or performing, their performance can drop by a detectable amount and even lead to heat illness (b, d)! If an athlete looses 5% of body weight as water it can be reflected as a 30% decrease in ability…you see where this message is heading..in order to see a good performance athletes should be hydrating before and after exercise. Don’t forget that the amount of water lost and the time it takes to loose it is all dependent on the individual (a, c, d). Hydration also plays a role in cognitive function and performance. Changes in mood, ability to concentrate, alertness and short term memory can all be affected by even mild dehydration (b, d).
So how do you know if you are getting enough water on a daily basis?? Understand that this amount is different, and can be very different for everyone. So you need to figure this out for yourself. It’s as simple as paying attention to a few clues and monitor on a daily basis:
– Weight loss (>1%)
– Dark-coloured urine
– Thirst (Conscious desire for water)
If you are healthy, active and in a low risk population and test positive for any two of these measures it suggests that daily fluid intake is likely inadequate and if you test positive for all three of these measures it is very likely that your fluid intake is inadequate (a).
Infants and young children need to be monitored closely for dehydration especially when it is hot and they are busy playing all day and drinking is the last thing on their mind. This age group can be more susceptible to dehydration because they have more body water and different thermoregulation than adults (d, c). They might need to be reminded to drink because they don’t recognize the need to replace body fluids. It is important to establish healthy hydration habits early in childhood! Remember water is best (watch out for added sugar and calories in other drinks!) and you generally want to aim for 6-8 glasses a day in addition to food, but this varies from body to body so pay attention to what yours is telling you (e)!!
To help you increase your high water content veggies, try out my Healthy Summer Corn Salad! Made with all of the great local veggies that are filling the farm stands and farmers markets these days this salad is sure to be a winner at your next BBQ or gathering 🙂
- 3 ears of corn, blanched
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/3 cup chopped red onion
- 1/2 cup blue cheese (or your favourite cheese) crumbled
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp honey
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup hemp oil
- Cut corn from cob and add it and rest of salad ingredients to large bowl.
- Whisk all dressing ingredients together
- Drizzle over salad and toss.
- Cheuvront, S.N. & R.W. Kenefick: Are You Drinking Enough? Journal of the American College of Nutrition 35(2):185-192. 2016
- European Food Information Council: Water Balance, Fluids and Importance of Good Hydration. Food Today June 2006
- American Heart Association: Staying Hydrated – Staying Healthy. Sept 2014
- Popkin, B.H., K.E. D’Anc, I.H. Rosenberg: Water, Hydration, and Health 68(8):439-458. 2010
- British Nutrition Foundation: Hydration for Children (4-13). Feb 2013