My daughter and I were touring through Joshua Tree National Park exactly a year ago. At the entrance of the park there was a small convenience and tourist shop. We stopped there to get some more supplies...(Except for gas. I forgot to get gas. It made the trip a little tense.)
Believe me when I say, it was hot - like 35-39C hot! In the store, we picked up what they called an "electrolyte mix" - very simply, it was watermelon cubes sprinkled with salt and lime juice. Can I just say, after a long hot walk through the desert, it was exactly the right thing to eat.
In this blog post, we'll explore why staying hydrated during the heat is crucial for women, particularly those who experience night sweats.
Heat and Hydration:
When temperatures rise, our bodies work tirelessly to regulate internal temperature, often leading to perspiration as a cooling mechanism. However, this natural process can cause dehydration if we don't replenish the fluids lost. Hydration is vital for maintaining overall health and well-being and becomes even more crucial during hot weather conditions.
Women who suffer from hot flashes and/or night sweats:
For women in menopause, staying hydrated is essential. Not only will high temperatures contribute to dehydration from sweating, when you're dehydrated, it often triggers more night sweats and hot flashes, so it's important to pay extra attention to fluid intake.
Benefits of Staying Hydrated:
There are several benefits to staying hydrated, as you'll see below, whether or not you're hiking through Joshua Tree!
1. Regulating Body Temperature: Adequate hydration allows our bodies to regulate internal temperature more efficiently, minimizing the risk of overheating and heat-related illnesses.
2. Enhanced Physical and Cognitive Performance: Proper hydration supports optimal physical and cognitive performance, helping you stay alert and focused, even in the heat.
3. Improved Skin Health: Hydrated skin appears more vibrant, youthful, and resilient. Drinking enough fluids can help maintain skin elasticity and reduce dryness, ensuring a healthy and radiant complexion.
4. Support for Vital Body Functions: Water is essential for the proper functioning of various bodily systems, including digestion, circulation, and elimination of waste products. Staying hydrated helps these processes run smoothly.
5. Helps decrease night sweats' frequency: Staying hydrated helps your internal thermometer function a little better and will reduce the number of night sweats (and hot flashes) you have.
Tips for Staying Hydrated:
1. Drink Plenty of Water: If you feel overly warm or are sweating a lot, ensure you drink an adequate amount of water throughout the day. Carry a reusable water bottle with you as a reminder. Infuse it with fruit and herbs for variety. While the common suggestion is 2L of water per day, there are others who suggest ensuring your urine is a pale straw colour. Another thing to note is that you should sip it throughout the day - drinking 2 litres at once will literally just get flushed down the toilet as your body can't absorb it that quickly.
2. Monitor Electrolyte Balance: Electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium, play a vital role in hydration. Consider incorporating electrolyte-rich foods and beverages, such as the watermelon mix we discovered, into your routine.
3. Limit Caffeine and Alcohol: Both caffeine and alcohol can contribute to dehydration. If you consume these beverages, do so in moderation and remember to balance them with water intake.
4. Eat Water-Rich Foods: Incorporate hydrating foods into your diet, such as fruits (watermelon, citrus fruits), vegetables (cucumber, lettuce), and soups.
Watermelon, Lime and Salt "electrolyte" mix:
This is a super simple fast recipe to whip up. Keep it cool to preserve its texture. If you're hiking bring along a small icepack.
- 3 cups watermelon (or more), 1" cubes
- 1/4-1/2 tsp flaked sea salt (can also use table salt,)
- Juice of 1/2 lime
Toss ingredients together in a bowl, and add to a small portable container for the road.
About salt intake: the amount of salt depends on how much you are sweating and whether or not you suffer from heart disease. Use your judgement and knowledge of your current health. We only need 1500mg/day of salt, however, that average daily intake is over 2300 mg/day. Sea salt, especially coarse salt contains less sodium than fine salt or table salt. When you're sweating, you lose salt and potassium so you can afford to consume slightly more than usual. Still, use it sparingly.
As midlife women, it's crucial to prioritize hydration, particularly when dealing with night sweats and braving the heat. By staying hydrated, we provide our bodies with the necessary tools to combat dehydration, regulate body temperature, and optimize overall health and well-being. So, remember to drink plenty of fluids, including water and electrolyte-rich options, and enjoy the benefits of staying hydrated throughout your journey. Stay cool, refreshed, and healthy!
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Disclaimer: I am not a registered dietitian or healthcare professional. The information provided in this blog post is based on general knowledge and personal experiences. We recommend consulting with a qualified healthcare provider or registered dietitian for personalized advice and guidance regarding your specific health concerns, dietary needs, and hydration requirements.