Keeping Well Hydrated
In summers the body tends to lose a lot of water by evaporation from the skin and breath or by urination. Hence dehydration is a major problem, especially in children and the elderly as they tend to ignore thirst sensations. How many times have you ignored your thirst sensations (because of being busy) and realized that you indeed have been very thirsty only when you drank a glass of water? Thirst hence is a weak indicator of your hydration status. If you find that this often happens to you, then it would be a good idea to keep a glass of water near you all the time so that you keep sipping water. Before going out of the house, have a glass or two of water. Carry water or a cool beverage with you if you expect to be out in the heat for long. When you get back home or after a workout at the gym, a swim, or any other form of sport or physical activity, don’t forget to rehydrate with more water/beverage. To select the ideal kinds of beverages, remember the following: • Homemade traditional recipes are generally safest in terms of quality of ingredients used and microbial safety. Examples include nimboo pani, sattu ka ghol, jal jeera, aam panna, bael ka sharbat, buttermilk, lassi, fruit juice. • Several sharbats and squashes can also be consumed. Khas sharba and sharbats made from a combination of herbs and plant extracts have been used for years due to their cooling properties. • Those who do not have the time to prepare these at home should buy packaged products from reputed and trusted brands after scanning the labels thoroughly for shelf life and list of ingredients. Avoid products with too many chemical additives like artificial colour and Class II preservatives. • Carbonated cold drinks consumed occasionally are not a problem but can’t become a part of your daily diet. They are a cocktail of chemicals with sugar and hence a source of empty calories giving you little else but sugar. • Caffeinated beverages like tea, coffee and cola drinks should be avoided in excess as caffeine actually has a dehydrating effect, causing your body to lose more water. Those who are overweight and trying to cut down on calories, and patients of diabetes and heart disease who have been asked to keep their weight under control, should be careful that they don’t consume too many sugary beverages. Artificial sweeteners can be used but it is always better to minimize intake of anything synthetic. Choose whole fruits instead of consuming just the juice. This way you will get more fibre and the amount of sugar your body absorbs will also be less. Those with high blood pressure should not consume salted beverages. Many other herbs and condiments can be used to make the beverage interesting without salt, like using tamarind extract, jeera, lemon juice, mint, etc. Foods rich in potassium like mausambi juice, coconut water (an excellent drink equated to the best sports drink formulations), lemonade, juice of other fruits like plum, watermelon and mango/banana shake are excellent for those with high blood pressure.