Dehydration can be a major problem in the summer heat, so be sure to drink plenty of water. Dr. Tina Marcantel is a naturopathic doctor in Gold Canyon who also serves the East Valley cities of Mesa, Queen Creek, Scottsdale, Apache Junction, Tempe, Chandler, and the surrounding area.

Summer has arrived, and for us here in the Valley of the Sun that means some serious heat is on the way. As the temperatures push past the 100 degree mark in Phoenix, we thought it was a good time to offer a few “beat the heat” health tips. By the way, you don’t have to live in a desert climate to benefit from these reminders—hot is hot wherever you may be!

Tip #1: Drink lots of water!

Even when you’re not sweating, you’re losing moisture. We tell our patients to think of the atmosphere (especially in the desert) as a big sponge, absorbing your vital fluids. To remind yourself to drink throughout the day, buy a bright colored water bottle and keep it near you all the time.

We could fill a book with the health benefits of proper hydration (it’s been done by others), but here are just a few things to consider:
*Water flushes toxins and promotes proper digestion and waste elimination
*Dehydration is a major cause of kidney stones
*Dehydration leads to muscle cramps
*Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and leave you feeling tired
*Staying properly hydrated promotes healthier skin
*Drinking a large glass of water before a meal can serve as an appetite suppressant

Bottom line: Drink plenty of water.

So how much is enough? Although there’s no “magic number” because there are many variables to consider, a good rule of thumb for minimum water intake is still the “8 X 8” rule: drink at least eight eight-ounce glasses per day. However, in a particularly dry climate such as ours here in Phoenix, you may need to increase that amount considerably.

Also remember that any time you’ll be exercising, whether it’s at the gym, on the golf course, or doing yard work, you need to hydrate well before, during, and after exercise. The “before” part is the one most people neglect, but it’s important because your body will start to expend fluids as soon as you start to exercise. Drink 8-16 ounces of water an hour or two before starting strenuous exercise.

One indicator of whether or not you’re getting enough water is the color of your urine. If it’s light yellow, you’re probably doing okay. If it’s dark yellow, you could be dehydrated—time for a nice, tall glass (or two) of cold water!

Beat the Heat Tip #2