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The Heat is On: Remember to Eat Some Water

UNLV dietitian and nutritionist offers food and beverage options to consider when the mercury rises.
Business & Community  |  May 14, 2018  |  By Kevin Dunegan
Media Contact: Kevin Dunegan, kevin.dunegan@unlv.edu or (702) 895-3259
display of fruit and vegetables

Eating fruits and vegetables daily is a key part of staying hydrated through hot summer days. (UNLV Creative Services)

As temperatures in Las Vegas reach triple digits, our mantra should be: hydration, hydration, hydration. And while drinking water continues to be the best option, one UNLV nutritionist offers caution and reminds us to eat some water, too.

“We all need water, but, like any other food, moderation is key,” said Samantha Coogan, a registered dietitian and nutritionist at UNLV. “Drinking excessive amounts of water can actually wash out necessary electrolytes and minerals, which can cause dehydration. And severe cases of too much water can actually cause even greater harm. Balance is key.”

Coogan offers the following tips for healthy hydration year-round:

  • Drink water steadily throughout the day instead of guzzling it only when you’re thirsty. Set a goal for eight ounces each hour. Men should consume a daily average of one gallon of water, and women should consume ¾ of a gallon. However, these recommendations may need adjustment to accommodate factors such as height, weight, climate/humidity, and level of physical activity.
  • Consider replacing one or two of the 8 ounces of water with an electrolyte-enhanced beverage such as Gatorade or Powerade.
  • Remember to eat fruits and vegetables every day – they contain water, vitamins, and electrolytes your body needs.
  • Ask your primary care physician about adding a pinch of salt to certain foods in your diet. Sodium is one of the minerals your body needs to stay hydrated.

“Remember, when you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. Drinking water in small amounts throughout the day can safely hydrate your body. And consuming fruits and vegetables during meals or as snacks helps replenish water and electrolytes naturally. So, remember to eat water, too.”

Some of the best hydrating foods include:

  • Cantaloupe
  • Celery
  • Cucumbers
  • Green Bell Peppers
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Peaches
  • Radishes
  • Star fruit
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelon

Coogan also recommends using smartphone apps with timers that provide reminders to drink at designated times throughout the day, especially if your day is extremely busy. So fill your favorite water bottle throughout the day, and bring those foods that enable you to eat the water (and other nutrients) your body needs.