Cool Family Health: Hydrating and Keeping Your Family Cool This Summer

July 8, 2017 | Dr. Julie Durnan, Naturopathic Doctor

RHC-Cool-Family

Summer is here on the North Shore and this weather is what we have been waiting for all year. If you’re like my family, you spend plenty of time hitting the local beaches here in Vancouver and on the North Shore. My boys and I love swimming, throwing rocks, climbing logs, finding treasures, and enjoying picnics at the beach.

Here are some of my top 5 tips for keeping your family cool this summer:

1. Bring water wherever you go.

Make sure to always pack a water bottle for each child and one for yourself on any hike, day at the beach, or even a quick stop at the park. We sometimes underestimate how hot it can get here during our west coast summers.

2. Electrolyte drinks.

While drinking water is especially important on a hot summer day, balancing electrolytes is essential. Make sure to encourage rehydrating drinks that aren’t just water. A rehydrating drink such as coconut water, fresh pressed veggie or fruit juice, an electrolyte powder added to water, or a combination drink (stay tuned for my Rehydration Drink Recipe) will ensure you and your kiddos can keep your energy levels high all day long.

3. Hydrating foods.

Some foods that keep our electrolytes balanced during a heat wave are fresh cucumber, celery sticks, juicy berries, and sliced watermelon. These make great choices to keep snacking kids cool and hydrated and they are easy to pack for a picnic or day at the beach.

4. Electrolyte-rich foods from the Mediterranean Diet.

Other snacks that keep our salts and sugars balanced might include foods that are considered part of the Mediterranean Diet. Foods such as olives, seaweed snacks, trail mix, and hummous and grainy crackers. These foods aren’t just great for the health of your heart, they also readily keep your blood sugars balanced and contain healthy amounts of salt to keep blood pressure normalized. The people of the Mediterranean experience warmer temps much more often than we do here on the West Coast so it only makes sense to draw from their experience.

5. Shelter, shade, and sun shirts.

Us West Coasters are so excited to see the sun and to finally amp up our Vitamin D levels that we can occasionally forget that we’ve been under a cloud for 9 months. Make sure to go easy out there and stay protected. Your body needs time to adjust to this heat so make sure to take breaks from the sun by snacking under a tree, going indoors for a break, and definitely keeping your skin protected. My favourite sun protection for kids is a sun shirt and hat. Even the best sunscreen can’t protect skin 100%, so keeping sensitive skin covered is the best way to keep kids cool and to prevent sun damage.

Happy summer everyone! It’s a beautiful time of year for family fun and social events, and getting your Vitamin D. Stay cool out there

J

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