Eat to Beat the Heat

Summer’s heat can be very overwhelming. To remedy that, we have some suggestions on how you can beat the heat and keep yourself cool.

Photo credit: ejaugsburg, Pixabay
Photo credit: ejaugsburg, Pixabay

BY JENA BROWN, RD, LD

Sweet, sweet summertime–or maybe it’s not with this heat on the rise. This year is forecasted to be one of the ten warmest years in history, so be sure to eat and drink wisely to stay well hydrated. This is especially important for children who are out of school for the summer and playing outside.

Believe it or not, about 60 percent of our bodies are made up of water, which means that we need plenty of it to ensure they function properly. How much do we need to drink each day? The amount depends on many factors, but the most recent Institute of Medicine recommendations are 11 eight-ounce cups of water or other beverages a day for women and 16 for men. The good news is that we can get some of this water–about three cups a day–from the foods we eat.  Fresh fruits and vegetables are perfect for the summer because they contain lots of water.

Summer is the ideal time to get outside and participate in activities the entire family can enjoy.  In fact, only an hour a day of physical activity boasts health benefits for everyone. However, increased activity in the heat increases water loss from the body so use these tips to stay properly hydrated while boosting your body’s nutrition:

  • Snack on fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Keep a bottle of water with you at all times when you plan to be outdoors.
  • Drink water, low or no calorie beverages, and fat-free or low-fat milk.  In addition to providing fluid, milk also supplies calcium for healthy bones and teeth.
  • Limit intake of regular soda, juice and other sugary drinks.  Juice adds a lot of extra calories and sugar to your diet with less nutrition than fresh fruit.

So next time you are out taking an afternoon stroll or about to canon ball into a swimming pool make sure to prepare ahead of time.  Remember—if you are thirsty—you are dehydrated!  Try some sweet, sweet summertime recipes to quench your thirst the next time you are outdoors.  Here’s one to try from the Fruits and Veggies More Matters website at http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org

Symphony of Fruit Pizza
– 1 English muffin
– 2 tablespoons whipped fat-free strawberry cream cheese
– 1/3 cup strawberries, sliced
– 1/4 cup red grapes, quartered
– 1/4 cup canned mandarin oranges, drained

Toast the English muffin until golden brown. Spread cream cheese on toasted muffin. Arrange sliced strawberries, grapes, and orange slices on top of the cream cheese.

Recipe is courtesy of Produce for Better Health Foundation and Shoney’s, Inc. iT!

Jena Brown is a registered dietitian in Wichita Falls, Texas.

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