When a person does not drink enough fluids to replace the fluids that are lost during the day through sweating, urination, and breathing, they become dehydrated.
How do we know if we are well hydrated and why is it important?
One of the easiest ways is to check the color of your urine. If you are well hydrated, your urine should be pale yellow or similar to the color of lemonade. If it's the color of orange juice, start drinking more. Not staying well hydrated greatly increases a person’s risk of heat exhaustion and may lead to heat stroke, which requires hospitalization and may be life-threatening.
Are all beverages created equal?
When it comes to what hydrates the body most quickly, water, sport drink and diluted 100% fruit juice (half water, half juice) are the drinks of choice. Beverages like soda, milk, or full strength juice contain other stuff that slows down how fast they can be absorbed from the stomach. That "other stuff" includes higher amounts of sugars, protein, and maybe fat. If you're drinking something other than water, be aware of the added calories!
In the heat, people also tend to drink more if the beverages are cold. You can add ice or keep a water pitcher in the fridge for easy access. Try adding sliced lemons, oranges, other fruit, or cucumbers to the water for delicious flavor.
The key to staying hydrated in the summer heat is to drink plenty of water. It's best to consume water in small amounts throughout the day. So carry and drink from your favorite water bottle throughout the day - it'll keep you hydrated!