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Nutrition and You!

Drink Up to Cool Down In the Heat

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With the sweltering heat comes the need to remember to drink up to cool down. ďWith warmer temperatures and increased outdoor activities of a typical summer, it is important that everyone make sure their bodies are getting the fluids they need to stay healthy and avoid dehydration,Ē says registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Spokesperson Kelly Pritchett.

Why do you need to drink more in the hot weather?

The water in your blood is like the coolant that runs through a carís engine block. They both absorb, carry, and ultimately release heat in order to keep a running machine (including your body) from overheating. In a car, the coolant absorbs the heat from a running engine and carries it to the radiator for release. In your body, the water in your circulating blood absorbs the heat from your internal coreóthe center of your body, where your most important organs are locatedóand carries it to the skin for release.

Water works so well as a coolant in your body because it has a unique ability to absorb and release a tremendous amount of heat. When itís hot outside, the enormous amount of internal body heat that is generated often overwhelms the heat-absorbing capacity of your bodyís water. The increasing heat breaks apart the molecules of water on your skin, transforming them from a liquid (sweat) to a vapor. The evaporation of sweat from your skin releases the heat and cools you down, enabling you to maintain a safe body temperature.

Because of this, itís important to stay hydrated during the hot weather. Here are some tips to increase your intake of water from both foods and beverages to keep you hydrated in the heat:

Keep a pitcher of water with sliced cucumbers, limes, or lemons in the refrigerator for a refreshing glass of ice water. Adding flavor to the water will motivate you to drink adequate amounts.

Freeze washed red grapes in a large plastic bowl. Munch on a handful for a juicy way to cool down.

Make a smoothie with yogurt, frozen berries, and a splash of milk as part of your dinner.

Take a filled water bottle with you when you are out in the hot sun.

Stay cool,

Joan

Follow Joan on Twitter: @JoanSalgeBlake

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