Dare I say it but summer looks to be here! And that means BBQs, festivals and a few beverages here and there. Nice, until the hangover sets in.

One of the main ways alcohol causes a hangover is through dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. Alcohol is a diuretic meaning it prevents the kidneys from holding on to water, thus encouraging multiple trips to the loo. Sweating and vomiting are associated with nights out and hangovers (unfortunately), and the summer heat are other factors that can lead to dehydration. Symptoms of mild to moderate dehydration include thirst, weakness, dry mouth and dizziness/light-headedness. Symptoms that many of us can relate to.

Adequate hydration is important for a variety of bodily functions including digestion of food, regulation of blood pressure and regulation of body temperate, as well as skin, mood, energy levels and overall well-being.

Did you know?
Sipping a glass of water with a meal can lead to fewer calories consumed. By switching from a sugar beverage to a glass of water you can save at least 100 calories in just one meal. Sipping water may also help to slow down your rate of eating and help you to better register when you are full.

It is recommended that we drink 6-8 glasses of water per day which is equivalent to approximately 2 litres.

You can work out the exact amount of water you require by the following equation*:

Weight (kg) X 35ml* = Ideal water consumption (ml)

While recommendations and calculations are based on solid research, remember to listen to your body. If you’re finding it difficult to drink 2 litres, cut back by 100ml each day until you find your perfect amount. Similarly, if the weather is really hot or you’ve been exercising, drink extra water to replace fluids lost through sweating.

Here are some simple tips to minimise your risk of becoming dehydrated this summer:
• Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day and note that \”fluids\” can include water, diluted drinks, juices, smoothies, milk, tea and coffee
• Keep a glass of water by your bedside on hot, clammy nights
• Track fluid intake using an app such as My Fitness Pal or Fit Bit
• Get yourself a steel water bottle – not only do they keep your water cold but they are much more environmentally friendly and hygienic that plastic bottles
• Keep a water bottle at your desk and in your car for visual prompts to drink-up
• Set \”hydration reminders\”
• If you\’re on a night out, try to match each alcoholic drink with a glass of water

Staying hydrated doesn’t just mean drinking water. It’s believed that approximately 20% of our fluid intake comes from food. Foods that contain lots of water include:
• Lettuce
• Cucumber
• Tomatoes
• Celery
• Watermelon

Have you tried Drop Chef\’s Veggie Budda Bowl? As well as containing lots of colour, the rocket, carrot and courgette each comprise of approximately 90% water.

Another one of my favourite summer salads is the Drop Chef Quinoa Mango Salad. It contains lots refreshing veggies and is full of flavour.

For more meal inspiration and ideas to keep you hydrated, follow The Baking Nutritionist on Facebookand Instagram.

Amy Meegan, BSc (Hons) Human Nutrition, UCD

*This should be reduced to 30ml for elderly people. 1-2 litres should be added on for people who are involved in a strenuous exercise regime. Additional water may also be required in warmer climates and during illness which involves vomiting and/or diarrhoea.

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