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  • Writer's pictureDr. Corina Kibsey

Top tips for staying hydrated this summer

It’s not just the heat. It’s the humidity! We hear this all the time. And for good reason. It’s true! With all the heat and humidity we get in Ontario at this time of year, we can become dehydrated pretty easily. Here are some of my top tips for staying hydrated this summer.

How much water should I be drinking?

It’s more than you think! According to the Mayo Clinic, men should drink 3.7 Litres per day, and women should be having 2.7 Litres. If you’re spending time outside on an especially hot and humid day, then you’ll need more than this. If you’re physically active, then you’ll need more too.

What counts as water intake?

I often have patients ask me if their coffee intake counts as drinking water. The answer is no! This is because coffee contains caffeine. Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it increases urine output. This can actually contribute to dehydration, and does not help to improve your hydration status. In fact, each time you drink a cup of coffee or caffeinated tea, you should drink an additional glass of water to make up for it.

What if I add juice or fruit to my water?

Juice does have sugars in it, so it’s important to consider this if you’re adding it to your water. If you’re just using a splash of 100% natural juice to improve the taste of your water, then that’s great! This is better than using one of those other juice enhancers that contain lots of artificial sweeteners and other additives.

An even better option is to add fruit to your water. Try adding lemon wedges, orange wedges, or some frozen berries. Have you ever added cucumber or mint to your water? Give it a try! It’s like having your own personal spa water throughout the day.

What are some good ways to remind yourself to drink water?

Set an alarm! I sound like a broken record here. I am constantly recommending that patients set alarms or reminders on their phones. Set an alarm to go off every hour to remind you to drink a glass of water.

There are also some great water bottles out there that track your water intake. You may want to buy one of these so that you can monitor your water intake throughout the day and see if you’re falling behind!

When should I be drinking water?

Between meals is best. You won’t want to drink too much water at mealtimes. Read my blog about this here if you want to learn more about why that is.

I often recommend patients drink as much water as possible upon waking. If you’ve been spending six, seven, eight, or more hours sleeping (and not drinking water) then you are probably waking dehydrated. Also, if you have water intake goals, then why not get them out of the way early in the day? That way you don’t need to think about it as much during the rest of the day.

Are there foods that help increase hydration?

Yes! Liquids are not the only way that we can get hydrated! Some hydrating foods to eat this summer include:

· Watermelon

· Strawberries

· Canteloupe

· Peaches

· Oranges

· Cucumber

· Lettuce

· Soups and broths

· Zucchini

· Celery

· Tomatoes

· Bell peppers

· Cauliflower

· Cabbage

· Grapefruit

How do I know if I’m properly hydrated?

The best way: check your pee! If it’s colourless or pale yellow, then that’s a sign of good hydration. If it’s darker in colour, then you may be dehydrated.

Another way to test for hydration is based on the turgor of your skin. Turgor is a measure of how elastic your skin is. You can test this on yourself by lifting up the skin on the back of your hand. When you let go, it should snap back quickly. If the skin remains tented for a moment or two, then you may be dehydrated. Time to drink some water!

Hopefully I’ve helped to clear up some of your hydration queries. If you have any questions about water intake or general wellness, click “contact” at the top of the page and get in touch!

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