For some of us, staying hydrated is the last thing we think about. We drink water to stay quenched instead of drinking it to stay hydrated. Hydration, especially in the scorching summers of Pakistan, is extremely important.
Why is it important?
Staying hydrated is an absolute must to maintaining good health. Water makes up approximately 70% of your body. Some of this water is lost just in our daily activities such as using the facilities, during perspiration, and even during breathing. Every cell, tissue, and organ in our body needs water to function accordingly. Still not convinced? Consider some of the following functions of water in our body:
- In bodily fluids, lubrication of joints to avoid bone friction
- Food digestion in the stomach
- In blood, transportation of oxygen and essential nutrients to cells
- In sweat, body heat produced during exercise is removed
Hydration vs. Dehydration
The best way to check your hydration is to monitor the color of your urine and the amount of times you use the restroom. On average, you should be urinating 3-4 times a day. If it’s somewhat clear or pale-yellow in color then you’re A-Okay. If your urine’s color is odorous and dark yellow, then you better start hydrating yourself as soon as possible! However, keep in mind that hydration may be ineffective towards urine color if one is taking vitamin supplements. That being said, it’s possible to be hydrated and still have dark urine.
Dehydration occurs when water intake is less than the amount of water lost from the body. If you are dehydrated, the first symptom you will experience is thirst. If you casually ignore your body’s cry for help: prepare yourself for the worst. Here are some common symptoms of dehydration:
- Decreased urine output
- Muscle cramps
- Dry mouth
Let’s Face it, Water Can Get Boring
Most of the time, drinking plain old water can get boring. Here are some refreshing water-rich foods to keep you feeling hydrated and healthy at the same time. (Note: these are not alternatives for water):
A cup of cucumber slices is almost as thirst-quenching as a cup of water, with its water content at 95%. But don’t bore your snack by just tossing it in a salad. Get creative! Cucumber dips, soups, and other refreshing recipes with cucumbers are always fun to try. This summer veggie is an ideal hydrator because it’s an effortless, easy grab-and-go snack.
Sliced and diced tomatoes also serve as an excellent intake of water. They have a 94% water content and their explosion of flavor make them an irresistible feed. But why stop at that at its solid form? Tomatoes make a mean soup, but if soup sounds unappealing in the summer-time slurp up some yummy, easy-made tomato smoothies.
Summer in Pakistan would be incomplete without its national fruit. One cup of this delicious, juicy, mouth-watering fruit is equivalent to about half a glass of water. Don’t feel like getting messy cutting up some mangos? No problem! Take a stroll down the street to the nearest shop and pick up a mango juice or request bhai sahab for a mango lassi.
Bell peppers of all shades make a fun, colorful snack to quench some of your thirst. They have a water content of about 92%. If you don’t enjoy eating them by themselves, almost all home-cooked desi meals have some form of pepper in them. If you decide to eat peppers with a home-cooked meal, go healthy and ask your mother or khansama to go easy on the saalan and heavy on the peppers!
These tiny fruits are quick and easy to pack on the go. They have an 80% water content so you’ll need to consume more of this fruit to get some form of hydration. If you eat one full cup of cherries (with the seed), you’ll have about half a cup of hydration.
Hydration is extremely important every day of the year and even more so when environmental factors cause body water loss to exceed the norm. Water foods hydrate and energize and can be incorporated in any meal. Well, what are you waiting for? Start eating your water!