Contributor: Caroline Coker
Recently, my grandfather was hospitalized at Sacred Heart on the Emerald Coast. We thought it was a cardiac episode and so did his doctors, until tests revealed that he was not properly hydrated. It can happen to babies, pets, children, the elderly, so no one is immune. Dehydration can sneak up on you silently and truly can be deadly.
Water is your body’s principal chemical component and makes up over half (60-75%) of your body weight. Every system in your body depends on water. It flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to cells, and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues.
Just like a drooping flower that bounces back after a nice cool drink, the same goes for humans.
The very first sign of dehydration is thirst. If you are thirsty, then you are already dehydrated.
Other symptoms that are more subtle might include a headache, being forgetful, tired, dizzy, light-headed, and you might be cranky.
If you pinch your skin in an area such as your calf and it does not bounce back, but appears dry and wrinkly, you just might be dehydrated. Not a good look for the beach.
Remember your mother telling you about drinking eight glasses of water a day? I sure do! Over and over…and over. Well, the Mayo Clinic points out that it depends on the individual’s height, weight, and amount of activity. They state that the Institute of Medicine determined that an adequate intake (AI) for men is roughly about 13 cups of total beverages (non-alcoholic) per day, while the (AI) for women is about 9 cups, even more than what mom expected!
Unfortunately, that Pina Colada may feel like it’s cooling you down, but alcohol is not the best hydrator. For each drink, make sure you add a few glasses of water, or toss pedialyte popsicles into your ice chest when headed to a day of fun in the sun, as they will help control your important electrolyte balance.
Though 80 percent of human intake is liquid, plan on eating delicious and nutritious foods containing water as well. Watermelon, cantaloupe, strawberries, blueberries, lettuce, and broccoli to name a few, especially as the heat index rises. Add some of the above mentioned in a salad or on a fish taco, and it will make all the difference in proper hydration.
Watermelon is a summer favorite, especially at the beach, and is comprised of 92 percent water. Watermelon.org states, “If you are trying to control your weight, watermelon is perfect because it has only 80 calories, no fat at all, and is full of satisfying flavor and important nutrients. Just 2 cups of watermelon chunks contain 25% of your daily vitamin A and 30% of your daily vitamin C. Watermelon also contains B6 (6%) as well as potassium (8%), phosphorus (4%) and magnesium (8%).”
Get my#BeachEats Recipe for Watermelon & Tomato Gazpacho here.
Contributor Caroline Coker was raised on 30A, and has been living in South Walton, Florida since the age of five. She is passionate about health and fitness, and graduated in Nutritional Science from The University of Alabama in August 2015. You will find more of her work here at 30AEats.com on Beach Eats, recipes that she is working on for her first cookbook. Caroline also handles the social media for GulfCoastRestaurants.com.