Hydration! If you’re like me, you’re going to see that word and think la-la-la-la, already heard that and I would agree, I’m a bit burned out by this overly used word when the temperatures rise. As important as hydration is, it can often fall on deaf ears. Continue reading though because you might find something new and appealing that makes hydration a bit more palatable.
In all seriousness, we really are having a heatwave in case you haven’t noticed; not just in Luxembourg but throughout a good portion of Europe. For those expats from hot climates you should know that by Luxembourg standards, temperatures this high are considered quite hot and even require heat warnings written about in all the news outlets. The weather service on my phone has put heat warning indicators up for the next couple of days and this was only July 1st and we still have the rest of the summer ahead of us!
I am certain that most people know the proper thing to do when the temperature rises like this; stay cool and hydrated. Every year we all hear the same warnings about drinking a lot of water and, as if we didn’t know better, stay out of the direct heat.
I don’t know about you but I do try to drink lots of water and quite frankly it’s not the easiest thing. First of all, a ton of water lands like lead in my stomach and doesn’t feel too good. Second, in a country where public toilets are scarce or often require some pocket change to enter, it can be a bit restrictive when needing to use them frequently and even a bit inconvenient when you have to hunt one down. A tip: the toilets just off Place D’Armes are free though they do appreciate a little tip.
I have learned some tips for staying hydrated while not feeling weighed down like a water buffalo from liters of water. Staying hydrated isn’t necessarily about just water though we need really do need it. It’s about maintaining a high level of fluid in our bodies since we are made up of about 75% water and we need to replenish it daily. All of the ideas below are gluten free and perfect for just about any other food allergy so enjoy.
One of the easiest ways to increase your intake of water is to eat your veggies and fruits. Seriously, not only are they loaded with nutrients but they are a fountain of fluids too! When you eat that big, green salad with tomatoes and cucumbers, you are making huge strides to hydrate yourself. Did you know that most vegetables, especially the seasonal summer veg, have the highest content of water? I don’t think that’s an accident since summer is when we need more water.
There are some juicy veggies that taste terrific and boost your hydration. Cucumbers, celery, corn, squash, zucchini, bell peppers, and many of the thick leafy greens are all amazing water dense vegetable choices. These are very easy to find in markets and stores. Many restaurants offer salads and salad bars as well as premade salads at many convenience shops. I’m including tomatoes here, though technically a fruit, because most of us have them on salads and they easily fit with other veggies. I like to grab a handful of cherry tomatoes and just pop them in my mouth. As you can see in the photo, I like to mix fruit in my salads for a unique and flavorful dish.
Summer time brings with it some of my absolute favorite fruits of the year! Watermelon is one of my all-time favorites with apricots coming in second. Quite frankly, I think I’m in love with all summer fruit! Melons, pit fruits and tropical fruits are like gifts from heaven and taste just about like what that image congers up. Talk about water dense; melons probably win for highest water density. It’s hard for me to know for sure though because after you’ve tasted a perfectly golden, ripe mango or dazzling yellow pineapple or bitten into an incredibly ripe and juicy peach or nectarine that makes little puddles in your hand then I have to doubt melons being the winner. All water density aside, I would readily eat any of these heavenly delights! I bet just reading about that made your mouth water.
There are so many delicious and juicy fruits available right now like all sorts of berries, cherries, apricots, peaches, plums and so on that it makes it easy to increase your fluid intake if you enjoy several servings of these daily. I was busy around town recently and bought a small bag of perfectly ripe apricots to nibble on during a rest in my errands. They were just enough to keep me from getting thirsty, nourish my body and feel satisfied without the weight in my gut.
So, those are the quick and easy tips for hydration. With a bit more effort there are still other ways to enjoy your fluids aside from plain old boring water. I like to freeze grapes, blueberries and cherries (pitted) and use them as ice cubes. Also, fresh fruit like oranges, apples or strawberries in water is really refreshing as well as some herbs like mint. Combining basil and cucumber in the water is also a great flavor. There is always the stand-by lemon or lime squeezed in and I like to add coriander or thyme to give it a bit of a twist. I often make a container or water bottle before bedtime and let it”brew” overnight in the fridge.
When temperatures are this hot, fruit can go bad quickly. I like to cut it up at the peak of ripeness and freeze bowls of fresh fruit. I later use these in smoothies with a bit of water and voila, a great refreshing, water-based beverage. Since the fruit was ripe at the time of freezing I never add sugar.
Iced, herbal teas are a refreshing change from plain water. We also like to make sun tea during summer months as seen in the photo. These jars are nice since they seal and fit on the door of the fridge. You can always make juice from any of the ripe fruits and veg. One of our favorite ways to use juice is to make popsicles. You can use popsicle forms like pictured here. If you don’t have anything like this then use a small plastic or paper cup, cover snuggly with saran wrap, before freezing, insert a stick or plastic spoon through the saran so it stands up. These are great for kids and grownups alike. With any extra juice, we make juice ice cubes to cool drinks so they don’t get watered down.
A side note: be careful to monitor the amount of caffeinated, alcoholic and sugar beverages you consume. The caffeine and alcohol will further dehydrate you requiring much more water to counteract the effects. The sugar beverages, well, they have loads of empty calories and mess with insulin levels causing your body to work harder than it needs to. If you are craving the sugar then try some of the juicy seasonal fruit in a smoothie or juice.
Happy hydrated summer friends!