The heat is on and I am definitely feeling it! July is typically the hottest month of the year and it’s not unusual to see temps well over a 100 degrees here in Tucson, but this past week temperatures in the 90’s and 100’s were popping up all over the country. It is a heat wave for sure and trying to stay hydrated in this extreme heat can certainly be a challenge. Let’s face it, you can only drink so much water, right? But have you ever considered that the food you eat can be just as hydrating as water? If you came to my last cooking class, you should know the answer to that one! 🙂
We all know that staying hydrated is important. Without water we are unable to absorb nutrients, flush out toxins and maintain our overall health. Because the human body is made up of almost 60% water, we need water for practically every function in the body.
Did you know that water can:
– help you feel energized,
– think more clearly,
– lubricate your muscles and joints,
– help you lose weight,
– and even improve your mood!
Whether you realize it or not, your body is losing water all the time. We sweat, we pee, we breath….that’s right….we lose water every time we exhale (hello mouth breathers)! If you are not adequately replacing that fluid, you can easily become dehydrated. Water is an essential nutrient that your body needs on a daily basis. Think of it as a supplement that you should take every day!
The amount of fluid you need will depend on factors like your weight, activity level, diet and of course, the climate. That being said, the bare minimum we should be consuming is 8-9 glasses of liquid per day. According to the U.S. Reference Dietary Intake, the optimalintake for men is around 130 oz. and around 95 oz. for women. Now if it seems daunting to drink that much water, consider this….fruits and vegetables can provide up to 20% of your daily water intake. That is quite a bit if you think about it. Veggies typically have more water than fruit which may be a little surprising if you compare a juicy watermelon to say a bell pepper. To give you an idea about how much water is actually in your veggies and fruits, I’ve listed a few of my favorites.
Zucchini is 95% water. It is high in fiber, electrolytes, potassium and B vitamins.
Bell Peppers are 94% water. They are high in Vit. A, C, B vitamins and antioxidants.
Cucumbers are 95% water. They are low in calories and high in fiber and B vitamins.
Celery is 95% water. Weighing in at just 16 calories/cup, celery is an excellent source of antioxidants, enzymes, Vitamin K, C, potassium and B6. Celery can be high in pesticides so always buy organic.
Radishes are 95% water. They are high in Vit C, B6, magnesium and calcium. Radishes are part of the Brassica family (cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts) so they are high in sulfur and low in calories.
Watermelon is 91% water. It is high in Vit A, C, potassium and magnesium. Watermelon is a natural diuretic and is low in calories (46 calories/cup).
Summer is the perfect time to enjoy all of these cooling and hydrating foods. All types of zucchini, summer squash and cucumbers are in abundance at the farmers market now. The photo below shows just a few of the goodies I picked up last weekend. The summer squash are on the right and there is zucchini, patty pan, yellow crookneck and grey zucchini squash. The cucumbers are on the left. The long one is an armenian cucumber, the light colored oblong one is a lemon cucumber and the two short green ones are pickling cucumbers. If you’ve never had an armenian or lemon cucumber, head over to the farmers market this weekend and get a few. They are divine!
You might be wondering about the two veggies that look like small pumpkins. The one with the green stripes is a hybrid pumpkin/delicata squash. The other one is a small spaghetti squash. I think this one just might be too cute to eat!!
One of my favorite ways to eat these veggies is a super simple salad. I’m kind of obsessed with spiralized zucchini so I always use that combined with some lettuce as my base. Then I add chopped cucumbers, radishes, bell peppers and celery. I like to add nuts and seeds for some crunch, parsley or cilantro for some fresh herbs, salt and pepper and a drizzle of good olive oil. It comes together quickly and holds up well if you make it in the morning and take it to work for lunch.
One thing you may notice during the extreme summer heat is that your digestion may feel a little sluggish. According to Ayurveda, our “agni” or digestive fire is weaker during the hot summer months. We tend to crave cold/frozen foods but eating too many can further weaken your ability to digest the food completely. It’s like throwing cold water on a fire. For this reason, I usually eat my salads at room temperature and I typically eat them for lunch when my digestion is the strongest.
So, if you are feeling the heat and you cannot bear to drink another ounce of water, head to your fridge (or the farmers market) and grab some juicy veggies or crack open a watermelon. Not only will you be cooling your body off, you will also be boosting yourself with some amazing health benefits. Remember…..every time you eat is an opportunity to nourish your body from the inside out. If you think of your food in this way, it’s much easier to make healthy (and hydrating) choices!
Got questions or need some help figuring out what to eat, hit reply and take advantage of my free 30 minute consultation. I am scheduling appointments for August so be sure to get on my calendar.
Stay cool and I will talk to you soon!