Summertime is upon us! The days are longer and hotter, and if your drinking and eating habits don't adjust accordingly, you're going to feel drier and more wiped out. What we eat is extremely important to our health. The nutrients in food enable the cells in our bodies to perform their necessary functions. Being aware of our diet has become more and more important everyday.
Here's how hydration needs change in the summer, and which summer produce is particularly positioned for keeping you well through the warm weather!
There is a quote from the textbook Perspectives in Nutrition, written by Wardlow and Insel, that describes how the nutrients in food are essential for our physical functioning. "Nutrients are the nourishing substances in food that are essential for the growth, development and maintenance of body functions. Essential meaning that if a nutrient is not present, aspects of function and therefore human health decline. When nutrient intake does not regularly meet the nutrient needs dictated by the cell activity, the metabolic processes slow down or even stop."
Throughout my journey, I have learned how to stay healthy with my snacks and drinks I consume during the day. I prepared a list for you of products, foods and drinks I try to make sure I eat and don’t slack on my athletic healthy diet that will help you stay physically productive this summer!
1 - Fruits and Berries
I can not emphasize this enough, but ANY fruit or berry is always a great choice of healthy snack! I personally prefer Apples, Pears, Bananas and Peaches because they are quick and easy to consume. Berries are not only highly nutritious but also a low-carb fruit choice. For example, blueberries provide just 11 grams of carbs in 1/2 cup (74 grams). For a delicious, low-carb snack, combine 1/2 cup (74 grams) of blueberries with 2 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream.
I’d go one step further and urge you to pair those fruits with something like Peanut butter. I usually do Apple slices with sugar free peanut butter. Sometimes Banana with peanut butter and honey. Simple yet effective to keep me satisfied and on task while being productive as an on-the-go snack. Peanut butter contributes protein and healthy fats, while apples are high in fiber and water, making them particularly filling. In fact, 1 medium apple (182 grams) is over 85% water and has more than 4 grams of fiber.
* FRUIT JUICES: Any way you pour it, it's just not good for you. If you crave fruit juiciness, go for the whole fruit, which gives you all the benefits of fiber and fullness without the concentrated sugar and high calorie count. Lower-calorie "lite" versions aren't any better; they're loaded with artificial sweeteners and they train your body to crave more sugar.
2 - Granola, Nuts and Dried Fruits
Nuts and dried fruit provide a balanced, non-perishable combination of snacks. This filling combination has a decent balance of all three macronutrients, including nut healthy fats and dried fruit protein and carbs. What's more, both foods are filled with fiber, which will help keep you properly full in between meals. Perfect for a mid-afternoon break.
As most store-bought varieties of granola are high in added sugars and contain unhealthy vegetable oils that may increase inflammation in your body, it’s best and simpler to make your own. Simply combine rolled oats, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, and cashews in a mixture of melted coconut oil and honey, spread the mix out on a lined baking sheet, and bake for about 40 minutes at low heat.
This mix is not only very wholesome but also balanced and high in complex carbs, fiber and healthy fats. Additionally, soluble fiber in oats can help lower cholesterol levels and boost cardiac health.
3 - Popcorn
Popcorn is a healthy whole grain snack that has fiber and protein. The best thing about popcorns is that you can choose from a variety of flavours to satiate your hunger pangs. Munching on popcorns will not only satiate your taste buds during work from home, but at the same time its gluten free composition makes it a perfect binge-worthy delight. What’s more, it contains antioxidants called polyphenols that may help protect against chronic conditions, such as heart disease.
4 - Proper Hydration
It’s no secret that proper hydration is essential, regardless of the time of year. But it really is especially true in the summer months. As I always mention, keeping your body hydrated is the bare minimum you can do to optimize mental and physical well-being. As a professional swimmer, I always have to make sure my body is at its maximum level of hydration, so I can perform at my best during everyday workouts and swim meets. Walking around with a water bottle or sports drink bottle has become part of who I am. When I go to that morning run or workout I always make sure I have a bottle of Hydra-Guard with me. Staying hydrated not only helps me to stay on top of my physical performance, but also I make sure I am always at my best mentally.
For most people, water is all that is needed to stay hydrated. However, if you will be exercising/studying/working at a high pace for hours, a sports drink may be the answer. The calories, potassium, and other nutrients in sports drinks can provide energy and electrolytes to help you perform for a longer period of time. Products like Hydra-Guard Sports Drink also help me to make sure I have my proper amount of Vitamins and essential electrolytes to keep me healthy and active all year. One bottle has 20% the equivalent Daily Value of Calcium we need alongside with only 5g of REAL Sugar and no artificial anything.
Depending on my daily workout, I do switch or add a sports drink into the mix of my daily hydration. Walking around with a water bottle or sports drink bottle has become part of who I am. Staying hydrated not only helps me to stay on top of my physical performance, but also I make sure I am always at my best mentally. Products like Hydra-Guard Sports Drink also help me to make sure I have my proper amount of Vitamins and essential electrolytes. One bottle has 20% the equivalent Daily Value of Calcium we need alongside with only 5g of REAL Sugar and no artificial anything.
We should always remember that vitamin and minerals — particularly A, C and E, as well as zinc — play an important role in keeping the immune system strong and staying healthy during summertime. Filling each plate with produce, lean meats, dairy and healthy fats, will help us to get what we need to help keep our immune system strong.
One of my favorite parts of the whole process is to search and get to know more about products that fit into my fit lifestyle and are on the same page as me in terms of longevity in what I do. I might be a professional swimmer now and somehow be ‘forced’ into watching my diet and what goes into my body, but I know for a fact that one day when I don’t swim anymore I will still be very worried and concerned about my health.
Luckily the availability for low-sugar natural products has been on the rise and I have been able to refuel and replenish my body with the right amount of calories, vitamins and electrolytes while staying on track of my lifestyle goals. Products such as Hydra Guard Sports Drink are available on the market and online and they help me on a daily basis with my training routine.
Paul Millsap, 4x NBA All-Star and Hydra-Guard Partner has always made his nutrition and health a priority, which reflects his elite performance and extremely successful career in the NBA. Paul’s ability to maintain playing at the highest level has been nothing short of amazing. It's a professional career that every athlete strives for.
The key for longevity in any athlete’s career is to take care of their bodies first and that's something that Paul has obviously done very well. Hydra-Guard Sports Drink caught Paul’s attention in early 2019, when he officially partnered with them in efforts to bring the brands healthy benefits more readily available to more households across the country.
"Being a professional athlete naturally encourages me and my family to live a healthy lifestyle. Hydra-Guard Sports Drink raises the bar to unprecedented heights with its beverage innovation. It’s packed with electrolytes, and being an all natural sports drink with low sugars is a game changer, this product is changing the industry," says Paul.