Everyone enjoys being out on a sunny day – but deciding what to eat in a heatwave isn’t an easy task. Eating too much can make you feel tired, while eating and drinking too little can make you dehydrated.
So what should we all be eating and drinking when the weather is roasting?
Nutritionist Toby King sat down with Hot Tub Lodges to share his pick of the best and worst foods and drinks to consume during the hot weather – and if you’ve got a fridge stacked with fizzy drinks and booze, it’s not good news.
What to avoid in hot weather
I know you’re probably thinking about cracking open a can of soda right now, but several soda drinks contain caffeine, which increases the production of urine and can lead to more water leaving the body.
“While some research on caffeinated drinks may suggest that the fluid in caffeinated drinks balances out the water lost because of the diuretic effect, it’s always safer to be cautious,” King says.
What’s more, research from the American Physiological Society found soft drinks can worsen dehydration and increase kidney injuries, compared to plain water.
Wine, beer and alcohol
It’s tempting to open the bubbly during this beautiful weather, but any alcoholic drink will make you want to pee more.
King explains: “Alcohol inhibits the production of a hormone called Vasopressin.
“Vasopressin is the hormone responsible for decreasing water excretion and water reabsorption in the body. Alcohol turns this hormone off which makes us go to the bathroom more.”
Drinking alcohol in the heat can also make you dehydrate quickly. “Dehydration can start with you feeling thirsty, dizzy and tired but can be far more serious and lead to confusion and seizures,” King adds.
Drinking an ice-cold energy drink in the sunshine might seem like a great pick-me up, but King warns against using energy drinks in the hot weather.
“Energy drinks are filled with sugars, caffeine and other chemicals that make them a bad choice for hydration in this heat,” he says.
What to consume in hot weather
Ideally we should be drinking around 1.5 to 2 litres of fluid a day, especially in the summertime. But if this seems difficult for you, turning to food can help you increase your fluid intake.
“High temperatures and excessive sweating can make you become dehydrated fast which can lead to constipation, fatigue and headaches,” King says.
“The good news is that you can eat fruit and vegetables with water content greater than 80% to increase your daily water intake,” he adds.
Watermelon has a water content of 92%, so it’s perfect to eat on a hot day.
With a water content of 95%, tomatoes are another food you should be packing into your diet this summer. “You may think of a tomato as a vegetable but they are a fruit with the highest water content,” King explains.
He continues: “A medium-sized tomato can provide roughly half a cup of water, additionally because of a tomato’s high water count it contributes to them having low calories.”
Though tomatoes are great to eat during the summer, you should avoid sugary and salty tomato-based sauces which are common in pizza and pasta sauces, he adds.
Any berry with a water content of 80% and above is going to help keep you hydrated this summer. Blueberries (85%), raspberries (87%) and strawberries (92%) are all good ones to consume to help prevent dehydration.
“Berries on their own are a great snack to eat this summer, but you can also add them to your water to make it more interesting as well as to help double up on your hydration,” King says.
When you think of a refreshing summertime drink, milk probably doesn’t spring to mind. However, King says “milk is more hydrating than water because of the nutrient composition”.
“Milk has fats and proteins that slow the emptying process of fluids in the stomach allowing the hydration process to happen over a longer period,” he adds.