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Hydration and Your Health

Summer is here, and while the sun is hot and high in the sky and more time is being spent outdoors, it is essential to remember the importance of staying hydrated. Many of my clients are suffering because of dehydration. Dehydration happens when your body doesn't have enough water to properly function. Symptoms of dehydration can include extreme thirst, dry mouth, little or no urine, confusion, hunger, headache, dizziness, fainting and/or lightheadedness. Recognizing these symptoms is important to prevent major complications. Providing your body with the proper water intake is essential to maintaining your health.

Many of my clients ask me how much water they should drink a day. A good way of calculating a healthy amount of water is to divide your total body weight in half and drink that amount in ounces per day. For example, let's say you weigh 120 pounds, half of your weight is 60 pounds, therefore at a minimum you should drink sixty ounces of water each day. On average, this is usually eight,

8oz glasses of water per day. Alcoholic drinks and coffee are dehydrating and should not be counted.

Water is essential for your cells to function effectively. It acts as a shock absorber and insulates and protects your organs, brain and spinal cord. Water is used to flush waste and toxins from the body and lubricates your joints. Did you know that the human body consists of approximately 60% water? Drinking enough water throughout the day assists the body in functioning properly and is so important.

Another way to receive part of your daily water intake is by consuming hydrating fruits and vegetables. Here is a list of hydrating foods to consider incorporating into your diet according to their water content:

1. Cucumbers 96.7%

2. Lettuce 95.6%

3. Celery 95.4%

4. Radishes 95.3%

5. Tomatoes 94.5%

6. Peppers 93.9%

7. Watermelon 91.5%

8. Spinach 91.4%

9. Star fruit 91.4%

10. Strawberries 91.0%

11. Broccoli 90.7%

12. Grapefruit 90.5%

13. Carrots 90.5%

14. Cantaloupe 90.2%

Remember to make buying organic fruits and vegetables a priority. Organic foods have more beneficial nutrients and antioxidant properties compared to non-organic foods. Organic foods also have less pesticides and toxins. I recommend buying fruits and vegetables that are in season and to visit your local farmers' markets.

What about the foods to avoid in a heatwave?

The rule is to avoid foods that take more effort to digest, such as foods high in protein, fiber, sugar and highly processed foods like breads and pastries. As your body works hard to digest these foods, it will generate more heat! Spicy foods will also heat up your body temperature, so avoid curries and other spicy food during the hot periods. You might also be surprised to learn that calorie-rich foods like ice cream causes your digestive system to work harder and will lead to an increase in body temperature.

So swap out the ice cream for a cucumber to stay cool this summer, and your waistline might thank you too!

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