During extreme heat, you always hear the phrase “water, water, water.” But there are a lot of hydration options out there. So which one is the best?
WHNT News 19 took that question to Huntsville Hospital pediatric emergency doctor Carlos Abanses, beginning with good old-fashioned water.
“If you drink excessive amounts of water in a day, it can strip away some of your electrolytes and cause problems,” says Abanses. “There are people who are actually addicted to drinking water, it can lower their sodium levels and you can have potential problems and complications from that.”
Abanses says sports drink can indeed be beneficial during extreme heat because they replace lost electrolytes and the sugars they contain can keep your blood glucose levels from dropping during prolonged activity.
“Both water and sports drinks are fine cold or fine warm, it doesn’t matter just as long as you’re getting the electrolytes and fluids, that’s really the key thing. “It doesn’t matter if they’re cold or hot.”
But what about coconut water? The company VitaCoCo sells pure coconut water. They claim the product has more potassium than a banana and has 15 times the electrolytes found in sports drinks. So is this tropical liquid better than water?
“It is, you know, for a long time people have been drinking the fluid from coconuts on islands because it’s so good and refreshing, and actually you can use it as an IV fluid!”
But Doctor Abanses warns of the dangers of large quantities of alcohol and caffeine in extreme heat.
“The problem with beer and drinking a whole bunch of beer on a hot day,” Abanses says, “it’s going to make you feel cooler temporarily but you’re going to lose more of your body fluids drinking beer and get more dehydrated and that puts you at more risk for heat exhaustion eventually heat stroke.”