Hydrate for Heart Health

Warm weather causes the heart to beat faster and work harder to keep the body cool, putting extra stress on your heart. While sweating is your body's natural response to overheating, it removes necessary minerals, adding strain to the heart. People with heart disease or heart conditions are at a greater risk for a heat stroke because their body doesn't adapt as quickly. Therefore, if you or a loved one has a heart condition, regardless of age, be aware that the risk of stroke or heart attack increases during the summer months.

Besides the traditional advice of drinking more water, here are additional tips to stay hydrated and prevent dehydration during summer.

  • Sip All Day Long. Aim to sip on your water while exercising, playing, or lounging in the sun. Drink 8 ounces of water before and after every meal. A good rule of thumb is to aim for half your body weight in ounces. While plain water is best for hydration, other caffeine-free sources, such as herbal teas and fresh fruit juices, can help reach your fluid needs.

  • Prepare in Advance. Fill your favorite reusable water bottle with water and freeze it the day before an event/activity. The frozen water will melt while you play and be the perfect hydration refresher while you have fun in the sun. It will be easier to stay hydrated when appropriately prepared.

  • Use Sports Drinks Wisely. Electrolytes are present in the human body and are essential for the normal function of your organs and cells. When you sweat, your sodium and potassium stores can quickly deplete, and sports drinks help to replenish lost electrolytes. Alternate between sports drinks and water to avoid excessive sugar consumption.

  • Monitor the Color of Your Urine. While it isn't exactly a conversation for the dinner table, your urine indicates your hydration status. Throughout your day, remember to check the toilet for the color of your urine. If you find it dark yellow, this is your body's sign telling you to drink more. The closer your urine is to clear, the better hydrated you are

  • Limit Alcohol Consumption. If you drink, do so in moderation - no more than one drink per day for women or two drinks per day for men. Not only can too much alcohol increase the risk of high blood pressure and other heart problems, but alcohol is also a diuretic and, therefore, can increase the risk of dehydration.

  • Eat to Hydrate. While food isn't exactly the first thing we turn to if we are thirsty, certain foods are naturally higher in water intake than others. Take advantage of nature's hydration station by eating foods such as watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe, pineapple, peaches, mango, oranges, celery, cucumbers, lettuce, and summer squash such as zucchini and yellow squash. Keeping these foods bite-sized, cold, and handy can help you, your family, and your friends stay hydrated.

Featured Recipe
Sweet Mandarin Salad

  • 2 cups raw spinach

  • 1 cup kale

  • 1 cup shredded carrots

  • 1 cup cooked chicken, diced

  • 2 mandarin oranges, peeled

  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds

  • 1 avocado, sliced

  • 1 tsp sesame seeds (optional)


  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil

  • 2 tablespoons of coconut aminos

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger

  • 1 clove of garlic minced

  • salt and pepper to taste

Salad Directions:

  1. Combine spinach, kale, carrots, and cooked chicken in a large bowl. Toss well and add mandarins, almonds, and avocado.

  2. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, and enjoy! Pour dressing over salad just before serving.

Dressing Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients.

  2. Pour over the salad just before serving.

Be Inspired
WHO’s Recommendations for Added Sugar Intake: Summarized

Excessive sugar consumption is linked with many health problems, including obesity, tooth decay, cardiovascular diseases, and type 2 diabetes. The WHO guidelines advocate for a significant reduction in the intake of added sugars, including added sugars and naturally occurring sugars in honey, syrups, and fruit juices. These guidelines emphasize the importance of curbing sugar intake to maintain a healthy weight, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and promote overall well-being.

  • The recommended daily sugar intake for adults and children is less than 10% of total energy intake, which is equivalent to 5 to 10 teaspoons of free sugar per day.

  • The term "added sugars" is used here to refer to all sugars added to foods and beverages. It also includes sugars that occur naturally in honey, syrup, fruit juice concentrates, and fruit juices.

  • For an average adult (with a calorie intake of 2,000 kcal), 10% energy is equivalent to no more than 50 grams of added sugar per day (about ten teaspoons or 14 sugar cubes).

  • For children 1 to 3 years, 10% energy is about 30 grams of added sugar daily.

  • For children 4 to 6 years, it is about 35 grams of added sugar per day.

  • For children 7 to 10 years, it is about 42 grams of added sugar per day.

  • In addition, WHO considers reducing added sugar intake to below 5% percent (i.e., no more than five teaspoons of sugar per day for adults) a reasonable long-term health policy goal.

  • The WHO guideline does not refer to the natural sugars found in fresh fruit or milk, but only to added sugars of all types.

Non-Sugar Sweeteners:

  • WHO recommends against the use of non-sugar sweeteners for controlling body weight or reducing risk of noncommunicable diseases. The recommendation applies to all people except individuals with pre-existing diabetes.

  • This recommendation does not apply to personal care and hygiene products containing NSS, such as toothpaste, skin cream, and medications or to low-calorie sugars and sugar alcohols (polyols), which are sugars or sugar derivatives containing calories and are therefore not considered NSS.

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