Medical experts advise that maintaining body hydration is one of the most important things to do in extreme heat. Individuals out in the heat lose electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and chloride and need added electrolytes to prevent cramping and excessive sweating that can strain the body. Dehydration can be dangerous, leading to heat exhaustion and possible heat stroke. If gulping water all day seems like a lot, remember that not all hydration must come from drinking water; there are hydrating foods that contain enough water that can be incorporated.
The body needs H20 to:
Sweating is vital for maintaining body temperature, and electrolytes are essential in maintaining the body’s homeostasis. Electrolytes help coordinate muscle contractions, heart function, and the conductivity of electric signals transmitting to and from the nervous system. The kidneys regulate fluid absorption and excretion to maintain electrolyte balance, but an imbalance can occur when electrolyte levels spike or drop. An electrolyte imbalance is caused by a change in the number of electrolytes in the body. Sodium, potassium, and calcium are the common elements most likely to be affected by an electrolyte imbalance. Other reasons why electrolyte levels can change include:
It is recommended that instead of focusing on how many glasses of water have been drunk, concentrate on two biomarkers:
When the body is thoroughly hydrated, an individual should go to the bathroom every two to three hours, and the urine should be a pale yellow. If it looks orange, it indicates that the body is trying to conserve water and needs further hydration.
Consulting a doctor or nutritionist is recommended to help determine what foods are safe for the individual if there are underlying conditions or other health concerns. Here are a few hydrating foods that contain at least 80 percent water that can be eaten throughout the hot day to maintain body hydration.
These are a few hydrating foods that can help with the intense heat. Others include zucchini, iceberg lettuce, strawberries, blueberries, celery, broccoli, and cauliflower. Healthy H2O levels benefits include:
Bergeron, Michael F. “Hydration and thermal strain during tennis in the heat.” British journal of sports medicine vol. 48 Suppl 1, Suppl 1 (2014): i12-7. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2013-093256
Gauer, Robert, and Bryce K Meyers. “Heat-Related Illnesses.” American family physician vol. 99,8 (2019): 482-489.
Karppanen, H et al. “Why and how to implement sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium changes in food items and diets?.” Journal of human hypertension vol. 19 Suppl 3 (2005): S10-9. doi:10.1038/sj.jhh.1001955
Schiefermeier-Mach, Natalia, et al. “Electrolyte Intake and Major Food Sources of Sodium, Potassium, Calcium, and Magnesium among a Population in Western Austria.” Nutrients vol. 12,7 1956. 30 Jun. 2020, doi:10.3390/nu12071956
Strimbu, Kyle, and Jorge A Tavel. “What are biomarkers?.” Current opinion in HIV and AIDS vol. 5,6 (2010): 463-6. doi:10.1097/COH.0b013e32833ed177
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