Beyond Water: How to Stay Hydrated

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You know the standard advice about staying hydrated: drink two to three liters of water per day. But when you’re in the Sonoran Desert, you need to replenish fluids more often, meaning 7 liters a day is the norm.

That is a lot of water.

You also know that getting dehydrated is a very bad - possibly even deadly - idea in the desert. But there are two big steps you can take to optimize your hydration that don’t involve drinking more water.

The first step: eat the right foods. Most experts say that food can comprise 20% of our hydration if we eat wisely. Experts point to many fruits and vegetables that are primarily water, such as radishes, strawberries, watermelon, cucumbers, green peppers, tomatoes, and iceberg lettuce. A pro tip is - before heading out on a morning hike or run in the summer - eat a big salad or drink a smoothie with water-packed foods and you will have boosted your fluid intake.

Watermelon and citrus are primarily water and a glass of fresh pressed juice is a good way to start the day. Avoid canned or carton varieties - evidence suggests there’s way too much sugar in them. Fresh is in fact a healthier matter. Be mindful: the sugar count can still be high. But a glass of fresh, cold, fruit juice on a summer morning in the desert is more hydration you will need later.

The second step: use oils strategically. Apply oils to the skin. They not only help rejuvenate the skin but are also absorbed to help keep water in the body. Ingest oil - put oil on that morning salad, for instance - and the right oils (think olive oil) help hydrate the body at a cellular level, say the experts.

Drink water often and liberally and you will do well in the Arizona climate. And know that you can drink a little less water if you eat exactly right.