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September 28, 2016
Eyes Open: Signs of Dehydration


Camping and hiking in the great outdoors feeds the mind and cleanses the soul, but because nature often leaves us with limited resources and prolonged periods of exposure to the elements, keeping hydrated is a constant struggle.  For the last blog in our series on hydration, here are some of the warning signs of dehydration and how to deal with it, even when water is scarce!

Dehydration Details

The simplest explanation for dehydration is the body begins to lose more fluids than it takes in, but this in turn leads to the loss of more than just water.  When not enough water is present in the body, it tries to compensate by dumping electrolytes, potassium and sodium, all of which are crucial to a healthy body chemistry.  If not replenished quickly, dehydration can escalate into a serious health problem! 

Individual symptoms of dehydration are often easily dismissed as minor aches and pains; headaches, dizziness, muscle weakness or a lack of energy, and even thirst are very common.  These same symptoms together however are a sure sign that a person is dehydrated.  In the early stages treatments are simple: drink plenty of clear fluids (water, juice or sports drinks).  It’s important to note that these fluids should not be gulped or consumed quickly but rather sipped a little at a time, as drinking too much fluid can induce vomiting. 

Normally these mild cases of dehydration can be treated at home, but for severe dehydration more intense treatments are required.  If a person is suffering from nausea or vomiting, ice chips or a similar item can be used in place of liquid water.  Replacing fluids intravenously (otherwise known as an IV) is the only real method to treat dehydration quickly, but this should only be done by trained medical professionals.

September 21, 2016
Water or Sports Drinks: What Hydrates Better?

drinksWelcome back to our camping blog series on hydration!  When it comes to hydration, it’s common knowledge that nothing beats a tall glass of water, yet the retail market it flooded with all sorts of sports drinks and flavored water that all promise equal or even better hydration that good old H2O.  With so much hype surrounding these new-age drinks, do they truly hydrate better?  Well campers, we went to the experts to find out!

Hydration history
Sports drinks as we know them today owe their legacy to the United States, where in 1965 the University of Florida’s medical staff realized that they could potentially improve the performance of their sports teams by creating a beverage that was formulated for physical activity, a.k.a Gatorade.  By adding vitamins, minerals and artificial flavoring, players seemed to perform better at physical activities in clinical studies and it was soon adopted as the official drink of the NFL in a few short years.  Modern sports drinks all stem from this basic formula, but better performance doesn’t necessarily mean better hydration.  More science is needed!

Sports Drink Science
The key behind hydrating with sports drinks isn’t the liquid itself (which yes, has a base mixture of water), but rather the sodium and other elements present within it.  Sodium is by far the most important hydrating element, as it helps the body hold on to the water already in the body and keeping the circulatory system in balance.  Drinking large amounts of water during a heavy workout causes an imbalance of sodium levels, replacing salt with water in blood cells.  This causes cells to swell, restricting blood flow and leading to poor oxygenation, headaches, vomiting and even muscle death!  Drinking sports drinks helps hydrate while keeping sodium levels in balance during hour-long workouts, and that means the machine that is the human body just works better!
So it looks like science is right: sports drinks hydrate better that water…during heavy exercise.  Otherwise the added sugar, salt and other elements in sports drinks aren’t necessary, and pure ordinary water will work just as well.

September 21, 2016
Hydration Help Part 2: Watery Vegetables

Hello campers and welcome back to our blog series on edible hydration!  Last time we dazzled your minds and mouths with several juicy fruits that tasted great and were water-filled to boot, so now we move on to fruit’s favorite sister-food-group: vegetables.  Just like fruits, there are several wonderful veggies that can help supplement your daily water quota that are full of healthy vitamins and minerals, so let’s check them out!

  1. Cucumbers
    1. First on our list are cucumbers, that lovely green garnish to any salad or that tasty snap that comes from a pickle.  In terms of raw hydration potential, cucumbers top out at almost 97% water by weight, making it the #1 source of edible hydration around!  No fat or cholesterol are present in cucumbers either, and they’re full of multivitamins and minerals.  Campers and hikers will love cumbers for their longevity too, as cucumbers can remain fresh for days unrefrigerated so long as the skin remains unbroken.
  2. Celery
    1. One of the most popular snacks of the health-conscious consumer, eating celery also means you’re helping hydration along nicely with every bite.  Celery stalks are about 95% water besides having a nice crunchy texture and sharp taste, making them a perfect on-the-go form of edible hydration.  Keep in mind that celery isn’t as packed full of vitamins and minerals as our other hydrating foods, but you will still get your fiber and water intake when you need it!
  3. Radishes
    1. Arguably one of the best vegetables across the board for their incredibly-diverse health benefits, radishes are also known to have one of the highest water content by weight of any vegetable.  Coming in at 95% water, staying hydrated by eating a few radishes will keep you hydrated while simultaneously adding antioxidants, fiber, potassium, and Vitamin C.

September 21, 2016
Hydration Help Part 1: Watery Fruits

Everyone knows that drinking a tall glass of H2O is the best way to stay hydrated, but since fresh water sources aren’t available on the trail, your stomach can help!  Well…more specifically the stuff you put IN your stomach; eating certain types of foods can naturally increase your body’s absorption of water, helping you stay hydrated.  Eat a few of these easy-to-find foods to help beat the heat!

  1. Watermelon
    1. It may be a bit of a misnomer, but as watermelon contains 92% water by weight, it’s a safe bet that eating this lovely fruit will have your hitting your daily hydro intake without filling up your water bottle.  More importantly though the calcium, salt, and magnesium present in watermelon helps regulate the body’s consumption of water, meaning you stay hydrated more efficiently.  Storage can be a bit of a problem, but that doesn’t mean watermelons aren’t the perfect summer treat to beat the heat!
  2. Strawberries
    1. That sweet-and-juicy taste of nature’s red ruby is one of the best fruits to both satisfy your sugar craving and stay hydrated at the same time.  By weight a strawberry is about 91% water, making it the Hydro King of the berry world.  Besides being filled with water, strawberries also are filled with Vitamin C and contain plenty of fiber, making it the perfect immune system booster to fend off illness.
  3. Cantaloupe
    1. Coming in at respectable 90% water by weight is the cantaloupe, that orange-colored mildly-sweet melon we all know and love.  Although grapefruits technically come in at 91% water, cantaloupes come in at third place on our list of hydrating fruits because of the number of total health benefits they provide.  Cantaloupes provide high beta-carotene, antioxidants, potassium, fiber, and choline ( a nutrient recently discovered to be responsible for nerve impulse transmission, memory, sleep, and learning).

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