By Lauren Fischer

Florida’s forecast for the next three months is pretty predictable — hot, hot, hot, humid and really hot! You are ready with sunscreen to prevent burns and bug spray to prevent bites, but what about water to prevent dehydration?

Water is the most important nutrient in the body. It plays a role in numerous vital processes, including regulating body temperature, transporting nutrients, improving oxygen delivery to cells and flushing toxins from the body. Unlike camels, humans cannot store water. Our bodies make about 8 percent of our daily water requirement though metabolic processes, but we are responsible for the remaining 92 percent through the foods and drinks we consume. Without adequate water we are at risk for dehydration, and summer’s high temperatures only increase that risk.

The signs of dehydration are generalized symptoms that could be attributed to many ailments, but recognizing them and treating with a glass of water is a simple first step. Signs of dehydration include the following.

  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Cravings
  • Cramps
  • Headaches
  • Hunger

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Tips for staying hydrated this summer

Ditch the diuretics

Diuretics promote dehydration and most are full of sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Diuretics include coffee, caffeinated teas, soda (regular and diet), alcoholic beverages and packaged/sugar-added fruit juices.

Calculate your personalized water goal

The general recommendation for water intake is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water. For example, a 140-pound woman would aim for about 70 ounces of water daily. Of course, you should always obey your thirst and adjust water intake for all physical activity and prolonged heat exposure.

Choose quality water

Spring or filtered water is optimal. Tap water today is filled with chemical pollutants. Home filters are an effective and inexpensive way to ensure clean water.

Salt your water

For optimal absorption, add a sprinkle of sea salt to your water. Sea salt provides the electrolytes, sodium, potassium and magnesium that water requires for entry into the cells.

Treat yourself to spa water

Fruits and herbs add variety and flavor to your water. A few delicious combinations are strawberries and basil, cucumber and mint, and lemon and lime.