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The Lake News Online
Health, food and wellness from MU Extension Specialist Melissa Bess
Stay hydrated this summer
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About this blog
By Melissa Bess
My name is Melissa Bess. I am a Nutrition and Health Education Specialist with University of Missouri Extension. This health and wellness blog started as a way to help improve MU Extension faculty and staff wellness but has grown to a much larger ...
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MU Extension Health and Wellness
My name is Melissa Bess. I am a Nutrition and Health Education Specialist with University of Missouri Extension. This health and wellness blog started as a way to help improve MU Extension faculty and staff wellness but has grown to a much larger audience. Follow me, share with others, bookmark this page, leave comments, and enjoy.
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The warmer temperatures are a good reminder to make sure we are drinking plenty of fluids. Here are some tips to make sure you are staying hydrated:

  • Water is the best thing you can drink. Our bodies are 45-75% water, so it is definitely an essential nutrient. If plain water is too boring or doesn't fit your taste, try adding some lemon, lime, or a calorie-free flavoring.
  • Check the color of your urine. It may sound gross, but it's an indicator of your hydration level. Urine should be clear to very light yellow. If it is darker yellow, you need to drink more fluids. 
  • Carry around a cup or bottle of water around the house, at work, or in the car. This makes it easy to sip water all day.
  • Limit caffeine. Too much caffeine can cause a mild diuretic effect, so go easy on the caffeinated drinks.
  • Limit juices. If you drink fruit juice, make sure it's 100% fruit juice. Even then, you should limit fruit juice intake to no more than 4 ounces a day (that goes for kids too). Too much juice adds too much extra sugar to our diets.
  • Milk is a good choice to get your calcium, vitamin D, and some protein. Switch to low-fat (1%, 1/2% or skim) if you are drinking whole milk or 2%. You will still get the same nutrients, but less fat. Chocolate milk (1%) is a good snack after working out, it can help replenish your muscles.
  • If you do not like milk or cannot tolerate it, try another non-dairy alternate. Soy milk, rice milk, coconut milk, almond milk, etc can provide similar nutrients to milk. Check the labels and make sure it has been fortified with calcium and vitamin D and does not have extra sugar added. 
  • Avoid energy drinks. There is absolutely no benefit or reason for children or adults to consume these drinks
  • Cut back on soda if you drink it. Regular soda can add extra sugar to our diets and lead to weight gain. The jury's still out on if diet soda makes you crave sweets more and the link to weight gain, so just limit sodas or quit drinking them altogether. 
  • Cut back on sweet tea. You can get used to drinking unsweetened tea, but it does take some training. If unsweetened tea is too boring, try adding some flavor with lemon and a calorie-free powder or one of the tea-flavored powders (such as Crystal Light). Sweetened tea can add a lot of extra sugar to our diets. Unsweetened tea or water are much better choices. 
  • Sports drinks, such as Gatorade or Powerade, are not necessary for most of us. If you are exercising hard for over an hour or playing sports for an extended amount of time (a tournament or multiple games) then a sports drink may be necessary. But for most casual exercisers or kids playing one game, plain water is just fine. Sports drinks do have extra electrolytes, but we also get those electrolytes (sodium, potassium) from lots of foods. 
  • Bottled water is not necessarily better. Some bottled water is very similar to tape water, but has been filtered. These is no health benefit or nutritional difference in bottled water. Actually, bottled water does not have fluoride, like most public water supplies do have, which is good for children and teens teeth. It can be more convenient, but is also more expensive.

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