This time of year, just a few minutes walking under the blazing hot sun is enough to leave you feeling like your mouth is stuffed with cotton. And while you might make an effort to steer clear of known dehydrators like coffee and alcohol (or make an effort to compensate by drinking more water), you could unknowingly be eating or drinking other stuff that’s drying you out. Here, seven foods and drinks to scale back on when it’s hot out. (On just a quarter-acre of land, you can produce fresh, organic food for a family of four—year-round. Rodale's The Backyard Homestead shows you how; get your copy today.)
Downing a cold, fizzy soda might seem refreshing, but the sugar in soft drinks has a hypernatraemic effect, meaning that it draws water from your tissues (eek!). Plus, the caffeine in some sodas (like cola) acts as a mild diuretic, making you urinate more. Put the two together, and you’ve got a drink that’ll likely leave you feeling parched instead of hydrated.
Like soda, most energy drinks pack a double dehydration whammy of sugar and caffeine. When you’re dragging on a hot day, try swigging a big glass of ice water instead. Dehydration can make you foggy-headed and fatigued—so water alone might be enough to help you perk up.
Like sugar, sodium works like a vacuum to suck water out of your cells, upping your risk for dehydration. So, the more salty chips, pretzels, or popcorn you scarf down, the greater your risk for dehydration. Instead of bringing a bag of salty snacks to the beach or pool, fill your cooler with hydrating nibbles like watermelon, peaches, or cucumber slices.
Soy sauce is basically delicious liquid salt. In fact, a mere tablespoon of the stuff packs more than a third of the sodium you’re supposed to have in a day. So, yeah, no big surprise that you always end up feeling crazy thirsty after sushi night. To slash the salt, opt for low-sodium soy sauce instead.
Strangely enough, herbs like parsley boast diuretic properties, and findings show that consuming parsley seed extract can cause you to urinate more than usual. That’s not to say that the measly handful of chopped greens on top of your dinner is enough to leave you bone-dry. But it might be something to keep in mind if you eat loads of parsley on a regular basis.
Asparagus doesn’t just make your pee smell a little funky after you eat it. It also might make you pee more often. That’s because it contains an amino acid called asparagine. Asparagine contains sulfur, which is what causes the weird odor. But it’s also a diuretic, which causes your body to release water. Like parsley, eating the occasional side of asparagus probably isn’t enough to make you dehydrated. But it could have an impact if you eat lots of asparagus every day while it’s in season.
Whether it’s a big grass-fed steak, roast chicken, or a piece of salmon, loading up on protein can cause your kidneys to produce more concentrated urine, which could put you at greater risk for becoming dehydrated. That’s why, if you’re on a higher protein diet, some findings suggest that you should make an effort to up your water intake.