The dog days of summer are upon us...
School is out, and outdoor activities abound. For some, that may be a comfortable and sunny 75 degrees with a cool breeze. For others, such as the southern half of the US, it has been reported to already be in excess of 105 degrees! Regardless of the temperature, we all have a responsibility to take care of ourselves by staying hydrated and replenishing vital nutrients that leave the body through sweat and physical exertion.
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, 1 out of 500 people will report heat exhaustion/stroke during the summer months, and heat stress causes an average of 240 deaths every year.
Sounds scary? It doesn't have to be.
To fully understand hydration is to understand that water will not solve all of your problems. While water is the most important resource that your body needs replenished, there are three other variables that need to be considered. This is especially important if you involve yourself in activities that causes prolonged sun exposure or long periods of sweating.
4 Items Your Body Wants:
An obvious need, no? But did you know that you don't have to actually drink water to restore water levels? Several fruits and vegetables consist of over 90% water, such as strawberries, melons, and broccoli. Juicing these items allows you to create your own custom sports drink, providing hydration and nutrients without the excess sugars and artificial dyes.
Sodium is responsible for regulating the body's fluid levels and retaining water. Americans typically have far too much of this in their diet due to the amount added to frozen, canned, and processed foods. In moderate amounts, it is a crucial component to health. The saltiness of your sweat is largely due to sodium being eliminated from the body. Juicing fresh green vegetables, such as celery, provide a delicious and natural means of replenishing your stores.
For hydration purposes, potassium helps maintain energy production. Cramping and fatigue of muscles, sleepiness, and even headaches are caused by a deficiency of water and potassium. The American diet seriously lacks what the body needs of this. Juicing fresh (not the fast-food kind of fresh) potatoes, tomatoes, and spinach are an excellent source to give you the natural boost you need.
Not too many people are familiar with magnesium. Its purpose is to assist with controlling your body's internal temperature. In other words, proficient amounts of magnesium in your diet prevents putting too much stress on your body during periods of activity. Juicing bananas, tomatoes, and spinach provide generous portions to help stay cool.
A motto I tell myself often is that "nature gives you everything that you need." Juicing is and will always be my favorite all-in-one solution for achieving what vitamin pills and medication try to do. If you're a juicer, either casually or undergoing an extended journey, you'll find that you'll never need to go near a soda or Gatorade again! Besides, you can make juices that taste tons better than store-bought products.
I'd like to share a recipe with you that will restore your water, sodium, potassium, and magnesium levels in a tasty way.
Heat Beater Juice (makes approx. 32 oz)
4 celery stalks
1 handful of romaine lettuce
1 handful spinach
3 leaves of kale
Your choice of fruit* (I recommend a handful of strawberries, 2 large slices of watermelon/cantaloupe, or fresh coconut water)