Stay Hydrated in Hot Weather
Are you drinking enough water? We’ve been having an extremely hot June here with temperatures in the 90’s during the past few weeks. It usually doesn’t get this hot until late July or August so my thoughts have turned to ways to keep hydrated to prevent dehydration. Hot, humid weather increases the amount of fluid you sweat and the amount of fluid you lose.
Not drinking enough water in hot weather or during periods of exercise may cause dehydration. Dehydration occurs when you use or lose more fluid than you take in, and your body doesn’t have enough water and other fluids to carry out its normal functions. If you don’t replace lost liquids, you will get dehydrated.
Mild dehydration may be reversed by drinking more fluids. The safest course to follow is preventing dehydration in the first place. In older adults thirst isn’t always a reliable indicator of the need for water. A better indicator is the color of urine. Clear or light-colored urine means you’re well hydrated, whereas yellow or amber color usually signals dehydration.
Older adults are at an increased risk for dehydration because the body’s ability to consume water is reduced, the thirst sensation is lessened and the body’s ability to respond to changes in temperature has decreased with age. Some older adults may forget to drink adequate fluids without prompting from family, friends and care takers. Chronic illness is another risk factor for dehydration. Uncontrolled diabetes puts one at an increased risk also. Fever affects hydration as does the use of certain medications.
We can prevent dehydration by being aware of how much we are drinking each day. One way to do this is to fill up a pitcher or bottle with water with the total daily amount needed and to drink from it during the day until it is all consumed. How much to drink depends on varying factors such as weight, use of medications, chronic illness, excessive heat, fever, vomiting and diarrhea. The Merck Manual of Medical Information recommends 1 1/2 – 2 quarts daily for healthy adults to prevent against dehydration and to prevent the development of kidney stones. Water enters the body primarily by absorption from the gastrointestinal tract so we must drink it in adequate amounts to stay hydrated.
In addition to water, fluids may be obtained by eating juicy fruits (melons for example), vegetables with a high water content (summer squash, tomatoes, etc.), soup, broths, juices and other beverages. Flavored waters are delicious also.
Freeze lemon juice in an ice cube tray & pop out a cube to add to a glass of water for a refreshing way to drink water. You can also add other flavorings such as mint, basil or whatever you like to make water more enjoyable.
I challenge you to drink 2 quarts of water daily and see if you don’t just feel better. Even if you don’t notice a difference, you will be protecting yourself from dehydration and kidney stones. Water is really important – we can’t live without it!
Twin Sisters Vegetable Soup, which I really enjoy in the summer months because the vegetables are fresh from the garden, is the recipe I’d like to share with you today. Soup provides extra fluid, too.
Twin Sisters Vegetable Soup
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1 small zucchini, diced
1 large yellow squash, diced
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
2 bay leaves
1 16-oz. can diced or crushed tomatoes
1 16-oz. can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
Heat the oil in a soup kettle or Dutch oven and sauté the onion, garlic and oregano together until the onion is tender. Add the potatoes, zucchini, squash, celery, carrots, tomatoes and bay leaves. Add just enough water to cover the vegetables.
Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover lightly and cook for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are fork tender. Add the beans and continue to cook for 20 minutes longer. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
Yield: 4-6 servings
Recipe Source: 365 Vegetarian Soups
Serving Suggestion: Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve with a good, crusty bread.
The flavor intensifiers in this recipe are the bay leaves, oregano, and garlic.
Stay cool wherever you are, and stay hydrated!
Remember to Savor the Flavor!