Your alarm wakes up out of a dead sleep and you hit the snooze button…. four times. Finally you drag yourself out of bed, get dressed and when you walk out the door a wall of heat and humidity hits. It is time to fight back naturally with hydrating FOODS for Summer.
Recently I led a workshop at Native Sun about fighting summer fatigue and having more energy naturally. The research is so surprising, I just can’t keep it to myself!.
Interestingly, one of the primary ways to fight back is through proper hydration, and hydrating foods should always be first on your list. The chart above shows some top hydrating foods. One of the BEST and simplest salads to hydrate is mixture of fresh berries, cucumber and watermelon.
Now let’s talk about the effects of dehydration. Dehydration impairs your thinking, digestion, energy, how you move, aches and pains and can even age your skin. It can be one of the main reasons for headaches, dizziness and irritability.
Taking in too little fluid is a major cause – your body loses fluid and electrolytes. Electrolytes are minerals in your body fluids that carry an electric charge. Why is this important? Because they affect the acidity and pH balance in your body, they regulate the amount of water you retain, and they are not found in water. They are in natural sodium, calcium and potassium to name a few.
In turn, one great way to hydrate properly in the summer is not only through water, but also through sodium balance!
The right kind of sodium is key to proper body function. It keeps fluids in balance, maintains blood pressure, digestion and metabolism, supports muscles and nerves, and is key for calcium absorption. It has even been called the “youth mineral” because of it’s benefits for our joint and ligaments – keeping them young and healthy.
A word of caution when it comes to sodium balance and endurance athletes or anyone working outside in the heat – you are at higher risk of hyponatremia. Hyponatremia is when your blood sodium falls below a level 135 of milliequivalents per liter (mEq/L). According to the National Institute of Health, the normal range is 135 to 145 mEq/L from depleting your sodium stores through sweat and drinking too much water. Because you lose sodium through sweat, drinking too much water during endurance activities, such as marathons and triathlons, can dilute the sodium content of your blood.
Don’t simply add table salt.
Table salt (NaCL) is mined from underground salt mines, processed, refined and stripped of the natural sodium and then anti-caking agents are added. What you want is the true organic sodium (Na). Most Americans are actually deficient in Na and consume way too much NaCl. While table salt stores in our bodies, any excess in natural sodium will be excreted.
Instead of adding table salt to your diet, add some foods that naturally contain sodium. Natural sea salt, fruits and vegetables.
- Beets 65 milligrams sodium per beet
- Celery and Carrots 50 milligrams in one stalk or one carrot
- Spinach 125 mg per cooked cup
- Swiss chard 300 mg per cooked cup
- Also, asparagus, barley, lentils, coconut, okra, kale, raisins, red cabbage
The organic sodium in these foods actually alkalizes the body and helps neutralize acidity from fried foods, meats, cheeses, alcohol and any processed foods etc. Without organic sodium, our bodies are clever, they will neutralize the acid from the mineral stores in our bodies – including our bones.
Finally, add Omega 3’s to your diet. Many people think flax when they think Omega 3’s; however, flax is a phytoestrogen like soy, and can alter the body’s hormone balance. The best form of plant based Omega 3 I have found is milled chia. I eat two tablespoons daily of a blend called Mila and have been doing so for three years. Mila specifically has been cleaned of mold, dirt and insect pieces that you find in generic chia. It is then carefully milled, or sliced open, to create more surface area for your body to suck up the nutrients. Finally, each crop is tested for nutrient content and blended for consistent levels of fiber, Omega 3 and other vitamins and nutrients. The fats in Omega 3 foods hold on to hydration in the body and help it from being excreted. Chia has extreme absorption qualities and can absorb many times it’s weight in liquid, keeping you hydrated longer. If you have ever heard of the book Born to Run, chia is the food utilized by the Aztec Indians of the Copper Canyon. They would take chia on their long and arduous runs for nutrition and hydration!
Have you heard of these ideas on fighting fatigue, tiredness and dehydration? What are some of your tips?
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Fresh Berry and Yogurt Bowl with Mila
Vegan, Gluten Free
1 cup non-dairy yogurt
1 pint fresh berries
2 Tbsp milled chia such as Mila
Sprinkle of natural sea salt
1. Pour 1/2 cup yogurt into each bowl; top with 1 Tbsp Mila; divide the berries evenly; sprinkle natural sea salt.
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat 5.3 g
Saturated Fat 0.7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 188.5 mg
Potassium 109.6 mg
Total Carbohydrate 16.3 g
Dietary Fiber 7.1 g
Sugars 8.2 g
Protein 8.0 g
Vitamin A 1.5 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 1.3 %
Vitamin C 19.7 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 3.6 %
Calcium 0.5 %
Copper 2.2 %
Folate 1.1 %
Iron 3.7 %
Magnesium 6.4 %
Manganese 10.2 %
Niacin 1.3 %
Pantothenic Acid 0.7 %
Phosphorus 6.3 %
Riboflavin 2.1 %
Selenium 0.6 %
Thiamin 2.3 %
Zinc 0.6 %
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.