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Summer is the ideal time to enjoy the open air and engage in various outdoor physical activities because the skies are clear and the grounds are dry. Due to your increased movements and sun exposure, you sweat more, leading you to feel thirsty more often. Even if you're not directly under the burst of sunlight, it's normal to feel sweltered due to the heightened ambient temperature.
In many parts of the world, summer is marked by backyard barbecues and beach parties where there is an unceasing flow of cocktails, soda, fruit juices and various sorts of thirst-quenchers. But while it is advised to increase fluid intake during summer doesn't mean you should drink any vibrant-coloured drink that you can reach.
The body of an average human adult is approximately 60% water simply because this substance is vital for nearly every bodily function. This is why lack of hydration can make you feel weak and disoriented. Unfortunately, many people do not find joy in drinking plain water especially during a festivity or a parched afternoon where ice-cold guzzles are being served. It is crucial to stay well-hydrated, but that doesn't mean you should get water from all sources. Here are some drinking habits that can put your life at risk:
Habitual Tipple and Binge Drinking
Although there are studies that support the health benefits of wine and beer, alcohol consumption is still considered a risk factor to a multitude of diseases. It's not required to drink alcohol, so you're currently a non-drinker, just don't start. It is best to avoid this type of beverage entirely because the potential benefits do not prevail over the risks.
For those who do drink, always keep in moderation. Get-togethers and parties are more frequent during summer which could mean a tremendous volume of free alcoholic drinks. It's easy to lose track of your consumption when everybody is also drinking and the place uproars with laughter. But binge drinking won't benefit your health in any way. Excessive alcohol consumption can trigger the development of different issues with heart muscle damage, liver disease, pancreatitis, high blood pressure among others. Anyone who has a pre-existing health problem should stay away from alcohol because it will only exacerbate their condition.
Different countries have different definitions of "standard drink". In the US, moderate consumption is equal to 14 grams of pure alcohol which is present in 12 ounces of regular beer. Your age, sex, overall physical condition, diet and other factors can affect how your body will react to alcohol. So the best thing to do is to evaluate yourself thoroughly before taking another drink.
Drinking Too Much Caffeine
You want to stay alert to keep up with all the summer goings-on, but caffeinated drinks are not brilliant options if you're also trying to keep hydrated. This is because caffeine increases urinary output, which means you can lose more water than you drank.
Some people are more sensitive to this stimulant so if you've noticed that a cup of coffee causes more restroom stops and makes you feel agitated, switch to decaf or reduce your caffeine intake. Be careful not to go cold turkey because to avoid headaches especially if you're a frequent coffee drinker.
If you need a caffeine fix, make sure you have an accessible supply of water to top off what will be discharged.
Drinking Too Much Carbonated Drinks
You will almost certainly feel parched after a walk under the blasting summer sun that it wouldn't be hard for a cold, fizzy drink to seduce you.
Carbonated drinks are widely available all year long, but they are more popular during the warmer months because of the cooling sensation caused by increased levels of carbon dioxide. The reinvigoration after drinking these fizzy drinks can also be attributed to the sweeteners they contain.
Despite being capable of rehydration and providing energy, carbonated drinks are still not recommended by health experts. Most of them contain acids as additional ingredients (apart from the acid produced by the reaction of carbon dioxide and water) which can cause a decline of bone mineral density and tooth decay. A study also revealed that these types of drinks stimulate the release of the hunger hormone, making them a poor choice for your weight management program.
Too Much Water without Sufficient Salt Replacement
Yes, there is such a thing as "too much water". Your body will discharge excess water, whether you like it or not. Along with the discharge are salts or electrolytes, which are substances that regulate fluid balance and blood pressure. If the water intake is outrageously high and your body cannot get rid of the excess fast enough, you may experience a headache, fatigue, lethargy, confusion and several other discomforts.
If you've been sweating a lot, consider an electrolyte-replacement instead of plain water. Or pair that bottle of water with some salted nuts or pretzels.
Choosing Artificial Juices over Natural Ones
Fruit juices are traditional during summer because plants and trees blossom during this time of the year. A day at the beach is also incomplete without these drinks served in cocktail glasses with small umbrellas.
Natural fruit juices cost more to prepare. More lemons are needed to fill up a tall glass, and you have to do all the squeezing.
Artificial juices can be in the form of liquid or powder. They are easier to prepare (just pour and add ice) and are more satisfying to the taste buds. But are they worth it?
Commercially-prepared juices are still from actual fruits or vegetables which were squeezed and then mixed with sugar, colouring, preservatives, artificial flavouring, and enhancers before they are packaged and displayed. Issues have been raised about the usual additives which should be enough for you to switch to a home-made blend.
The amount of sugar in artificial juices are also ridiculously high relative to their volume. So if you're planning to trim some pounds, it is better to handle the preparation yourself so you can control the sugar content.
Don't Just Drink
There is not one drink that can give your body everything that it needs. Fruit or vegetable smoothies can provide specific nutrients and antioxidants, but your body needs more. Together with good drinking habits, adjust your diet to obtain sufficient amounts of protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. But do not make significant changes without consulting a licensed dietician or your attending physician.
To complete the package, try to exercise more. You do not have to start at the gym. Fill the summer with long walks at the beach or use it gradually build milestones as a runner.
Healthy drinking habits and regular exercise make you a healthier person this summer.