Summertime in most places is a time for fun, outdoor activities and plenty of sunshine! Thanks to all those sunny days, we also have to make sure to stay hydrated to stay healthy. This is especially true in places like the desert where I live in Arizona.
The heat requires us to make wise choices when it comes to what we eat and drink to stay hydrated and healthy. Check out my video from the University of Arizona College of Medicine Phoenix where I serve as a Clinical Associate Professor to teach medical students about nutrition, prevention and public health. In this short video, I include some key tips for staying hydrated for optimal health during the summer time heat!
When thinking about what to eat during the summer, eating seasonally is a great idea. Every season provides a fresh harvest of fruits and vegetables that are well suited to our health needs.
Some seasonal fruits for summer include watermelon, cantaloupe, berries, peaches, nectarines, kiwi, strawberries, grapes and cherries.
All of these fruits are nature's thirst quencher, filled with antioxidant-rich phytonutrients, minerals, vitamins and plenty of water. Nature's thirst quenchers are actually much better than processed artificial sports drinks which are loaded with too much sugar and chemical additives.
Although fruits have naturally occurring sugar, they are also rich in fiber and water. The fiber slows down the breakdown of food into simple sugar and results in a slower release of sugar into the bloodstream. The fiber also controls our portion size, limiting how much we eat.
The slow release of sugar when eating whole summer time fruits is healthier than the big bump in blood sugar levels that occurs when drinking a sports drink.
Unless you are a professional athlete with a high basal metabolic rate where you are constantly burning calories, this excess sugar can lead to weight gain, insulin resistance and diabetes.
So, this summer, instead of getting a sports drink, reach for a whole piece of fresh juicy fruit, like watermelon to quench your thirst and stay hydrated!