LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A cold beer might sound like the perfect drink when temperatures are soaring, but it is not.
Most people don’t realize that if they are feeling thirsty, they are already dehydrated. That is why it is important to drink fluids before becoming thirsty.
Water tops the list of what to drink. Drinking water is the most effective way to stay hydrated.
The Mayo Clinic recommends roughly 3 liters of fluid per day for men and just over 2 liters a day for women.
Additionally, people who must spend prolonged periods of time outside in the extreme heat should drink at least one cup of water every 15 to 20 minutes.
Coconut water is also a good choice. It is low in carbohydrates and high in protein. Unsweetened coconut water is the best choice when it is very hot.
This might surprise some people, but fat-free or skim milk is especially good when trying to rehydrate children. It is high in protein, carbs, calcium, and electrolytes. Milk also helps replenish the sodium that is lost when a person sweats.
Green or fruit smoothies are also a good choice. Both fruits and vegetables are hydrating. Smoothies made from home are usually better than pre-made smoothies, which can be loaded with processed sugars, sodium, and other additives.
Sports drinks are great for athletes who work out vigorously for long periods of time in hot conditions, but the additional sugar and sodium in sports drinks will not benefit casual drinkers.
Soft drinks are a bad choice when it's hot outside because of their incredibly high sugar content and caffeine, which is a diuretic.
Alcohol is the worst choice for people looking to rehydrate. It can negatively influence the mechanism that regulates water levels in the human body. Additionally, overindulgence can lead to vomiting, which can result in severe dehydration.
Keep in mind that you can check your hydration level by looking at your urine. If it is the color of lemonade or lighter, you are properly hydrated. If your urine is the color of apple juice or darker, you are dehydrated.
Other signs/symptoms of dehydration:
- Dry lips and tongue
- Dry, sticky mouth
- Extreme fatigue
However, do not drink more than 48 ounces of water or other fluids in an hour. Drinking too much can cause a medical emergency because the concentration of salt in the blood becomes too low.
Also, don’t stop drinking just because you are no longer outside. Most people need several hours to drink enough fluids to replay what they have lost through sweat.