The long hot dog days of summer have arrived, with temperatures across much of the country regularly reaching into the upper 90’s and beyond for days on end. With the heat comes a heightened risk of losing too much of our bodies fluids. Our bodies are normally about two-thirds water. When levels dip below that amount, the result can be dehydration – which means our bodies lack the proper amount of water and fluids. Though dehydration can be a serious and even life-threatening condition, it can be avoided and treated easily with common sense measures in most instances.
In the summertime, the main cause of dehydration is sweating from heat. Likewise, exercise and heavy physical activity can cause dehydration due to sweating and the likelihood becomes even greater when physical activity is combined with heat.
Typical symptoms of dehydration include:
* dry or sticky mouth
* low or no urine output
* concentrated sticky yellow urine
* lack of sweating when exposed to heat or during physical activity
* not producing tears
* sunken eyes
The best way to prevent dehydration is to drink plenty of water and fluids and to avoid excessive heat and physical activity which leads to heavy sweating. In the heat of the summer it is especially good to avoid overdoing it and get out of the heat when needed. Most health experts advise us to drink at least 6-8 large glasses of water every day to keep our bodies hydrated. During summertime heat and heavy activities, the amount of water and fluids required can be much larger â€“ as much as twice as much or more. Thus, it is essential to drink plenty of water before, during and after exposure to the heat or heavy physical activity.
If you do become dehydrated, the best treatment is the same as what you would do to avoid dehydration: drink plenty of water and liquids and cool off. Since dehydration also causes the loss of important mineral electrolytes such as sodium and potassium, sports drinks can be a good way to both restore fluids as well as replenish lost electrolytes. However, commercial sports drinks may contain artificial colors and other ingredients that are less than healthy. Following is a recipe for a sports drink you can easily make at home from common and healthy ingredients:
Homemade Sports Drink Recipe
1 large regular teabag
3 regular-sized green tea bags
1/4 to 1/2 cup of molasses
1-1/2 teaspoons of pink Himalayan salt or sea salt
2-3 cups Apple juice (or your juice of preference)
Honey to taste
(As always, The Best Years in Life recommends choosing organic content and fresh content as much as possible for the healthiest recipe. Also, wash all fruits and vegetables before cutting or adding to the recipe.)
Bring water to boil, add salt. Turn off heat and add teabags. Steep for 15-20 minutes. In a gallon jug mix molasses, honey, lemon juice, and apple juice (or your juice of choice) to make 1/2 gallon. Shake well. Add prepared tea and water to complete the gallon. Refrigerate and enjoy.
The molasses adds potassium and some glucose and other good stuff (make sure to use real molasses and not the syrup sold as molasses in some stores). Of course, the salt adds the sodium. Honey is simply good for us, but also adds some glucose too without raising the glycemic index too much. The lemon is mainly for taste, but the vitamin C can’t hurt. The apple juice is definitely for taste, so add whatever juice you prefer (for example, grape juice would be wonderful).
NOTE: In the instance of severe dehydration, seek immediate medical attention. Severe dehydration is usually characterized by prolonged dizziness, lightheadedness, lethargy and/or confusion.