The hot, dusty and dry wind of the Harmattan season is gradually coming upon us – this side of West Africa. Although it is not fully here, the heat that we have been experiencing lately is really something to think about. When it gets hot, we sweat or heat up and get dehydrated.
Generally, staying hydrated is important for your health. During this season, it is much more important to stay hydrated to avoid heat cramps, exhaustion and heat strokes (especially for those in the Northern part of Nigeria and other countries along the Sahara). Guess what? Extreme heat also kills so be careful.
How can you stay hydrated during this season?
- Drink Water
If you are not an avid water-drinker, this is the time to repent. How many cups of water do you drink in a day? Drink to quench your thirst. Drink to replenish lost fluids through sweat. Just increase your fluid intake during this season up a notch.
Drinking water or generally hydrating yourself helps to keep you in great physical shape, improve your brain function, rehydrate your skin and help you regain electrolyte balance lost especially during this hot season.
If you really do not like to drink water, you can try flavoured water or add a dash of lemon to your water. It may help you consume more than you would take ordinarily. Other natural foods that you can use to flavor your water are mint leaves, cucumber, and oranges.
For mothers with infants over 6 months and toddlers, do not forget to get them extra water for school days. Your children may not be able to communicate their need for more fluids to you. Therefore you need to be extra sensitive to their needs during this time.
- Eat Water-rich Fruits
There are many fruits that can serve you well during the hot season. Watermelon, Cucumber, Oranges, Tangerines, Golden melon are examples of fruits that will not only keep you hydrated but also give your body many micronutrients that help to boost your immunity. Interestingly, these fruits are in season now.
- Enjoy Foods with High Water Content
Many fruit salads, smoothies, vegetables contain a lot of water. You can choose some of these along with your main meal to keep you hydrated as well.
- Avoid Heavy or Dark Clothing
Wearing heavy and dark clothing generates more heat and can make you lose more water. Unless your job demands that you wear dark suits every day in this hot weather, I would advise that you wear lighter and more colourful clothes. However, If it is unavoidable, keep yourself hydrated as much as you can and aim to stay in cool environments. Air-conditioned environments would be a plus.
- Plan to stay Hydrated
Do not wait until you are thirsty to get yourself hydrated. You can plan for it by getting a portable water bottle to store some cool/cold water. This way you have water or fluids on-the-go to keep you hydrated.
Alternatively, buy bottled water. Remember that not all the bottled water we see around are safe for drinking. Go for those with NAFDAC numbers, tight seal, traceable addresses and those that you have consistently used over time and can vouch for.
Things that can make you really thirsty during the hot season include:
- Fizzy drinks (soft drinks) and other sugary drinks
- Energy drinks
- Salty foods like salty fries, canned foods; and
Reduce consumption of these foods and drinks especially during the hot season.
To wrap this up, remember that hydration is important for your well-being. In hot weathers, you should prepare for it by dressing appropriately to match the weather, get your portable water bottles, drink water and eat other water-rich fruits.
Finally, don’t forget to Eat Better Live Better.