For a cool refreshing treat, try an Orange Slushie.

So much of our body is dependent upon water. Water makes up much of our brain, muscles, blood and even a portion of our bones.

It moistens the oxygen we breathe and helps to carry nutrients and oxygen to cells. It helps to convert food to energy and regulates our body temperature. It helps remove waste products from our major organs and cushions vital organs and joints. For this reason, we need to be aware of the dangers of dehydration which occurs when the body loses more fluid than it takes in.

As summer temperatures rise, so does our risk of dehydration. Knowing how to prevent this serious condition is an important part of staying safe while experiencing summer heat.

While being thirsty is only one indicator of dehydration, other symptoms include fatigue, dizziness, headaches, cramps and decreased urine or sweat output. In severe cases, dehydration may cause swelling of the brain, seizures, kidney or liver failure, kidney stones, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, inability to keep fluids down, irritability or confusion.

One indication you are hydrated is the color of one’s urine. Rather than being clear, it needs to be a pale yellow or the color of lemonade. If it is dark yellow or darker than apple juice, then you need to consume more fluid.

Children don’t always recognize that they are dehydrated especially when they become involved in summer activities such as sports and swimming. The amount of water a child needs is dependent on age, gender, body weight, the weather and how much physical activity they are participating in that day.

Maintaining proper hydration doesn’t have to be boring. Children can rehydrate by consuming water, smoothies, milk and 100% fruit or vegetable juices.

To encourage children to drink more water, add ice, a special straw, or infuse the water with a slice of fruit for sweetness or limes, herbs such as basil or mint and vegetables like cucumbers for an added zest. Grapes and cucumbers frozen for 4-5 hours make great natural popsicles.

Our body also rehydrates through the consumption of food. Many of the seasonal foods associated with summer are full of water. Foods such as fruits and vegetables like melons, strawberries, tomatoes and cucumbers are great sources of water. Stay hydrated with plenty of fluid this summer.

Orange Slushie

6 ounces frozen orange juice concentrate (1/2 of a 12-ounce can)

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup low-fat milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 ice cubes

Place all ingredients in a blender and process on high until smooth. Serve immediately.

Makes 5 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 90 calories, .5 g fat, 30 mg sodium, 19 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 3 g protein

Cami Wells is an Extension Educator for Nebraska Extension in Hall County. Contact her at (308) 385-5088 or at cwells2@unl.edu. Visit the Hall County website at www.hall.unl.edu

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