A Lesson in Hydration

by Jacqueline May Conte, CNP

Well, aren’t we lucky to have had such lovely weather in Vancouver? The heat advisory warning has been lifted, but we sure experienced a heck of a lot of excess warmth and humidity this past week. In times like these, it’s best to avoid overheating and dehydrating.

Admittedly, I’ve been much busier and active than normal and forgot to adequately hydrate, resulting in some symptoms I’d rather not have experienced. I wasn’t in the sun all that much, but I still experienced severe fatigue, muscle cramping in my legs, and brain fog. I’d hate for that to happen to you, too. See below for how to avoid dehydrating.

Stay Hydrated!!

If you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. Staying hydrated prevents acute headaches, fatigue (both brain and body) and muscular pain. In addition, dehydration can mask as hunger, so be sure to drink lots before you eat and if you think you need a snack, try having a couple glasses of water before eating. Keep on top of your consumption:

  • Drink a few cups upon waking to replenish what was lost overnight.
  • Bring a reusable bottle of water with you on your travels and refill as you go.
  • Sip throughout the day.

Supplement with Nutrient-rich Water

If you workout or are in the sun for a few hours a day for work doing physical labour, try supplementing with water that will both prevent dehydration and replenish your body’s cells with nutrients lost through sweat:

  • Option 1 (preventative): Mix 1Tbsp pure maple syrup or raw honey + 1/8-1/4tsp Himalayan or sea salt + 1Tbsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar in 1 litre of filtered water. Shake and drink in the morning before you start your day.
  • Option 2 (replenishing): Add a pinch or two of Himalayan or sea salt to your water. Drink following a workout or period of sun exposure and related sweating.
  • Option 3 (a treat): My favourite rehydrating treat is a watermelon slushie! Blend ½ small watermelon (without seeds) + 4 ice cubes + 2 pinches Himalayan or sea salt + ½ cup coconut water (optional). Enjoy!

Avoid Peak Sun Hours

Like the mad rush hour traffic, the best way to avoid sun burning is to avoid the sun’s peak hours altogether. It’s good to avoid or minimize your sun exposure from 11am-5pm, but if you need to be outdoors, try to protect yourself. If you need to be outside in direct sunlight, be sure to wear a good quality sunscreen (I suggest a zinc oxide-based product), wear a hat with a full brim, and cover up with light coloured, breathable, full length clothing on your arms and legs. Lastly, and maybe most importantly, plan your bathroom visits. Know where you’ll be able to go #1, so you aren’t afraid to suck back your water!

Jacqueline Conte is a Holistic Nutritionist and offers appointments at Local Health Integrative Clinic on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Click here to book an appointment with Jacqueline.