Healthy tips from a Registered Dietitian
In the heat of the summer, you may find your thirst going into overdrive. Especially if you work outside or are physically active outdoors, you will want to be sure you are drinking plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.
That being said, make sure you know what you are drinking. If you have a tendency to grab a diet soda, energy drink, iced tea or blended coffee beverage, beware. There are now even caffeinated waters on the market chock full of vitamins, minerals or electrolytes. However, not all these beverages are healthy. And, you may be consuming more caffeine than you realize.
Caffeine content of beverages is wide-ranging. You may like diet sodas, which tend to have 35-45 milligrams of caffeine per 12-ounce can. If coffee is your favorite, then you may be drinking 200 or more milligrams of caffeine per cup (the small size!) Generally speaking, most healthy adults can consume up to 200-300 milligrams of caffeine per day without significant interference with daily activities. Caffeine, though, affects us all differently, and knowing your limits is important. Caffeine’s affect on athletic performance is controversial, with some studies finding benefit of some caffeine to performance in endurance sports and other research finding no benefit or a negative effect on performance. If you have irritable bowel or other gastrointestinal problems, you should probably avoid caffeine all together. Pregnant women should be especially cautious, since some research has found caffeine consumption to be linked to a higher rate of miscarriage. Talk to your doctor or a dietitian to find out how much you can safely consume.
Here are some general tips that will help keep you hydrated in the warmer months, while avoiding or limiting caffeine as much as possible: