Here is an appropriate question as we are creeping toward the triple digits this summer:
Summer heat, and summer sun, wear me out. What foods and drinks, like juices, do you recommend to help me combat dehydration, skin damage from overexposure to sunlight, and other heat-related fatigue?
Let's start with discussing keeping yourself hydrated, which means water, water, and then some more water! Water is the best way to quench your thirst and keep your body from getting dehydrated, which can be extremely dangerous in this heat. Water also helps maintain a healthy weight-it's sugar free, caffeine free, and calorie free! The amount of water you need a day depends on your age, weight, and gender, but in general, women should get 8-10 glasses per day and men should get 12. Now, water can also be obtained through foods, so including plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet also helps keep you hydrated. If you are exercising, you will need to add more water to your daily intake; about 2 additional cups for every 15-20 minutes of exercise. You will also need more water as the temperatures continue to rise, and if you spend more time outdoors.
Other healthy sources of fluids include low-fat (1%)/fat-free milk and 100% juices. The new USDA MyPlate recommends 2-3 servings of dairy a day, so during the summer months, milk might be a good dairy choice to keep you hydrated. Plus, milk will help keep your bones strong and help reduce risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes! 100% fruit juice can also be included in a healthy diet, but you have to be careful, as it is very calorie dense! If you are going to drink juice, I would limit it to 1 cup (8 oz) per day for adults, but if you are trying to lose weight, it's better to choose whole fruit over juice. Remember, you can still help hydrate yourself with foods like fruits and vegetables...think watermelon! 100% juice should also be limited for children. Children 6 months to 6 years old should drink no more than 4-6 ounces per day, and children 7 years and older should be limited to 8-12 ounces per day.
Everyone should stay away from fruit juice drinks and sodas, and sports drinks should be limited to serious athletes. Fruit juice drinks and sodas provide very limited nutrition, if any at all, and are filled with unnecessary sugars. Sports drinks are also very high in sugar, but contain electrolytes which might help athletes recover from vigorous workouts. Most people do not lose enough electrolytes or burn enough calories during a workout to justify drinking a sports drink.
When it comes to skin damage, sunscreen is the key! The Skin Cancer Foundation considers SPFs of 15 or higher acceptable protection for normal everyday wear, and SPFs of 30 or higher for extended or intense outdoor exposure. Sunscreen should be applied one-half hour before going outside and should be reapplied every 2 hours when outdoors or immediately after swimming or heavy sweating. Applying sunscreen on your face is extremely important as it is highly exposed. Purchasing a daily moisturizer with sunscreen is a good way to help protect your face.
Other protective measures when being in the sun include wearing hats and sunglasses.
So when planning to combat summer heat, remember to keep hydrated and sun-screen lathered up!