It’s common knowledge that we tend to crave lighter, fresher foods in the summer as opposed to heavier food in the winter. Sandwiches, fresh fruits and veggies, salty chips…these cravings are natural and actually benefit us! When it’s hot and humid, we need more hydration. Raw fruits and vegetables have higher water content and taste oh-so refreshing.
The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine recently released new recommendations around fluid and hydration. The old advice was eight glasses of 8 oz of water per day. Those daily numbers have risen to 11.5 cups of fluid per day for women and 15.5 cups of fluid for men.
The truth is that fluid needs are highly individualized. We need water for a variety of body functions, including temperature regulation, removal of waste from the body, cushioning joints, and improving physical performance. Adequate hydration also helps us to stay awake and alert throughout the day. For many, eight 8-oz glasses of water per day might be adequate for hydration. However, those who are pregnant or breastfeeding, engaging in physical activity and sweat, or living in a hot or humid climate will require more. Sickness, including fever, vomiting, or diarrhea, means water needs are higher. On the other hand, those with certain chronic conditions (such as heart failure or kidney disease) may require less overall fluid each day.
The best way to quickly and easily determine our hydration status is to check urine color. It should be a very pale yellow, almost colorless. Some indicators of dehydration include frequent headaches, urine that is dark in color, dizziness or lightheadedness, dry mouth and eyes, fatigue, and extreme thirst. It makes sense that we often find ourselves reaching for cooler and more hydrating foods during the summer months. It all goes back to hydration!
Craving foods high in sodium such as chips, pickles, olives, and charcuterie may actually indicate dehydration. When we sweat, we lose electrolytes, like potassium and sodium, so we get a hankering for what our bodies are missing. Our bodies send us signals, and it’s important to pay attention to those natural cues!
Kristi Edwards, co-founder and owner of 901 Nutrition LLC, is a licensed and registered dietitian in Memphis. She has several years of experience in both acute care and outpatient settings, and she is passionate about helping clients ditch dieting for good, through intuitive eating and the enjoyment of food. You can reach Kristi at 901.800.9526 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about 901 Nutrition or to subscribe to their free newsletter for monthly recipe books, visit 901nutrition.com. You can also follow 901 Nutrition on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.