Warm weather and long vacations make summer a popular season for enjoying alcoholic beverages. But in addition to alcohol’s known effects on balance, coordination, judgment, and other health issues, alcohol causes dehydration and interferes with your body’s ability to regulate its own temperature. Summer heat and sun exposure amplify these effects, which increases your risk of heat illness and accidents.
Staying hydrated while enjoying summer activities is crucial, particularly when drinking alcohol. To ensure your summer is as safe as it is fun, check out these 6 tips to stay hydrated while drinking alcohol in hot weather.
Tip #1: Alternate alcoholic drinks with water
Although alcohol is technically a liquid, only about 75% of alcoholic drinks remain in your body as essential fluid. An easy way to remember to stay hydrated is committing to drink a full glass of water after consuming each alcoholic beverage and to ensure you don’t forget, try carrying around a water bottle for a visible reminder.
Tip #2: Eat your water to stay hydrated
Another option to help you stay hydrated while drinking alcohol in hot weather is to eat fresh fruits and vegetables that are high in water content. Examples include watermelon, cantaloupe, oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, blueberries, cucumber, celery, and zucchini.
Tip #3: Avoid sugary alcoholic drinks
Sugary drinks like daiquiris, margaritas, and piña coladas might seem like the perfect summer beverage, but they can actually lead to dehydration. Drinks with high sugar content create an acidic environment that impairs your body’s water storage capacity, which is necessary to metabolize all the extra sugar. The result is an increase in water loss. It’s a good idea to steer clear of sugary alcoholic drinks in hot weather.
Tip #4: Eat salty foods in moderation
A moderate amount of salt in your diet is healthy and can help your body retain water, which will, in turn, help you stay hydrated. Salty foods also trigger feelings of thirst, encouraging you to drink more fluids. The key to staying hydrated is to respond to that trigger with water, iced tea, or lemonade instead of alcohol. Of course, too much salt in your diet will have negative effects on your health, increasing fluid loss as your body tries to flush out the extra sodium. So opt for a handful of pretzels or cheese cubes instead of sodium-rich potato chips or popcorn.
Tip #5: Dress light to avoid sweating
Sweating out more fluids than you replace with water and other healthy drinks can also cause dehydration, but staying in the shade and avoiding physical activities aren’t entirely compatible with summer fun. To help regulate your body temperature, dress in light fabrics that are breathable like linen, cotton, lace, and synthetic fibers such as rayon or cotton/polyester blends. Light colors are also ideal, as dark colors, especially black, will absorb heat instead of reflecting it away.
Tip #6: Drink Alcohol in moderation
The best tip to avoid dehydration while drinking alcohol this summer is to drink in moderation. Music festivals, barbecues, weddings, and other events—especially activities that last all day and into the night—are often ripe environments for alcohol abuse. Staying hydrated is important, but it’s even more important to pace yourself and avoid drinking past the point of self-control.
Avoiding alcohol is an option, too.
If you have trouble drinking in moderation, you may be at risk for alcoholism. Be sure to keep any eye out for the signs and symptoms of alcohol addiction. Remember, there are plenty of fun things you can do without alcohol, and you do have the option of staying sober this summer. If you find yourself unable to stop drinking alcohol on your own, please reach out and ask for help.