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Stay Hydrated in Illinois' Summer Heat
Illinois Ag Connection - 07/31/2020

With more soaring temperature expected, University of Illinois Extension has tasty recipes to keep families from all walks of life and in every situation hydrated.

"Many people won't feel thirsty until they're already dehydrated," says Kristin Bogdonas, Extension nutrition and wellness educator, "so thirst isn't always a reliable indicator of the body's need for water. Your body needs more water when you are in hot climates, more physically active, running a fever, or having diarrhea or vomiting."

Water is the best beverage to hydrate. Energy drinks, coffee, tea, and soda contain caffeine and can affect your heart, adding even more strain placed on your body by heat and should be avoided in hot weather. Alcohol causes dehydration and increases the risk of heat illness.

Bogdonas suggests incorporating water-logged fruits and vegetables into your diet. Since vegetables typically contain more water than other foods including fruit, they are good choices for infused drinks. At 90% water by weight, hydration is another great reason to eat your vegetables.

On average, 1 cup of fruits and vegetables (chopped or sliced) will yield one-half cups of water, in addition to adding fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals to keep you feeling energized. One may try any of these herb and fruit-infused waters.

Herb-Fruit Pairings -- Infuse your water or tea with these combinations for a fresh and nutritious beverage. Add ingredients to a jar or pitcher, add water (or prepared tea), let sit in the fridge for several hours to overnight.

- Thyme-Pineapple

- Pineapple Sage-Blackberry

- Basil-Strawberry

- Mint-Mango

- Cilantro-Watermelon

- Mint-Cucumber-Lime

- Ginger-Orange

Watermelon Cooler -- Place watermelon, lemon juice, and sweetener in a blender and blend until smooth. Chill and serve.

Lavender Raspberry Lemonade -- Combine raspberry lemonade packets and dried lavender in your beverage container with water and allow to sit overnight for flavors to infuse.

Fruit and Vegetable Smoothies -- Too little iron can leave you feeling fatigued. Incorporate vitamin C found in foods, such as citrus and strawberries, to aid in iron absorption. Plant-based sources of iron include spinach and seeds. Add a handful of spinach and strawberries into your morning smoothies for added vitamin C and iron.

Looking for a hydrating liquid other than milk? Try coconut water which is a great source of electrolytes and blends well with fruits and veggies.

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