Diane May Nutrition Blog

Summer Heat and Hydration

August 2nd, 2015

Its always important to keep your body well hydrated, but it becomes especially challenging during the hot summer months. As we sweat during the hot months or while we exercise, our bodies lose water and it can impact normal bodily functions negatively.  Do not wait until you feel thirsty. That is a sign you are dehydrated.  Drink continuously throughout the day before you feel thirsty. Everyone needs different amounts of fluid.  If you sweat a lot, exercise vigorously, are elderly, take certain medications, have heart disease or diabetes, you may need more hydration than the average person.

What are the obvious signs of dehydration?

  • Light- headedness
  • Dark colored/strong smelling urine
  • Flushed skin (looking red)
  • Dry cough
  • Fatigue
  • Heat intolerance
  • Swollen feet
  • Nausea/vomiting

The best source of hydration is water. But if you plan on exercising longer than an hour or if you are going to be in the sun for a prolonged time, you might consider a sugar free sports drink or sports drink with 6-8% carbohydrate (maximum). These drinks replace the sodium and potassium lost through sweating. Juice, sweetened sports drinks and soda have too much sugar (10% carbohydrate on average) and drinks loaded with caffeine (cola, tea, coffee and some sports drinks) are dehydrating, pulling water out of the body like a diuretic. Alcohol is also very dehydrating so limit as much as possible.

The rule of thumb for workouts of 1 -1/2 hours or less and hydration:

  • Drink approximately 16 ounces of cool water 1-2 hours before you exercise.
  • Drink about 16 ounces of cool water 15 minutes before you exercise.
  • Drink about 5 ounces of cool water every 10 minutes during exercise.
  • Have about 34 ounces of water on hand every hour you exercise.
  • Drink about 16 ounces of water right after exercise.

If you really want to know how much fluid you need, weigh yourself before and after exercise to see how much you have lost from sweat. For every pound you lose, you need to replace with 1 pint (16 ounces) of water.

Approximately 20% of our hydration comes from the foods we eat.  Foods with the highest hydration, in order of water content, include:

  • Cucumbers 96.7%
  • Iceberg lettuce 95.6%
  • Celery 95.4%
  • Radish 95.3%
  • Tomato 94.5%
  • Green pepper 93.9%
  • Cauliflower 92.1%
  • Watermelon 91.5%
  • Spinach 91.4%
  • Star fruit 91.4%
  • Strawberries 91%
  • Broccoli 90.7%
  • Grapefruit 90.5%
  • Carrots 90.4%
  • Cantaloupe 90.2%

Staying hydrated is just as important as proper fueling through good nutrition.  It is important to stay mindful about water consumption throughout the day.  If staying well hydrated is a challenge for you, try setting an alarm in your phone reminding you to drink that water.  If you really do not enjoy consuming water, try keeping a pitcher of water in your refrigerator flavored with lemon, lime, mint or ginger. You may just find its easier than you think to keep that body well hydrated!

Watermelon Gazpacho

From EatingWell:  August/September 2005

Summer Heat and Hydration


Makes: 6 servings, generous 1 cup each

Active Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes



  • 8 cups finely diced seedless watermelon, (about 6 pounds with the rind) (see Tip)
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt



  1. Mix watermelon, cucumber, bell pepper, basil, parsley, vinegar, shallot, oil and salt in a large bowl. Puree 3 cups of the mixture in a blender or food processor to the desired smoothness; transfer to another large bowl. Puree another 3 cups and add to the bowl. Stir in the remaining diced mixture. Serve at room temperature or chilled.


  • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day.
  • Tip: Melon selection & storage: Look for symmetrical unblemished melons, without flat sides, that have a creamy yellow spot on the bottom indicating ripeness. At 92% water, this fruit should feel heavy when you heft it. Precut melon flesh should be dense, firm and appear moist. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week or keep in a cool, dark spot. Cover the cut surface of melon with plastic wrap and refrigerate.


Per serving: 116 calories; 5 g fat (1 g sat, 4 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 18 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 2 g protein; 2 g fiber; 296 mg sodium; 345 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (110% daily value), Vitamin A (45% dv).