Picture this: it's a beautiful, sunny summer day and you're out tanning by the pool with some friends. You've been drinking water, you made sure to load up on SPF, but all of a sudden you start to feel kind of...icky. You go inside to give yourself a UV break, but for a while you still feel pretty nauseous, and maybe even a little dizzy. What you are experiencing is only a mild case of heat exhaustion, but if these symptoms are left untreated, they can very quickly progress to a much more serious heat stroke.

This scenario is probably familiar to you. I mean, when it comes to the perfect summer tan, no pain no gain right? But what you might not realize is that different foods and drinks (I'm talking beyond the obvious H2O) can help to both prevent heat exhaustion, and make you feel better when the sun gets the best (or the burnt) of you. Next time your friends suggest an all-day beach trip, make sure to throw a few of these miracle workers in your bag before heading out.


So, we obviously can't have a serious conversation about dehydration, one of the most common causes of heat exhaustion, without stressing the importance of water. The U.S. National Research Council recommends drinking around eight 8-oz glasses of water a day, but when you spend a good amount of time in the sun, you sweat out a lot of what you take in.

Researchers estimate that an hour of exercise equates to at least 30 oz of sweat, which is about 1/3 of your recommended daily water intake! Tanning may not be exercise, but we tend to sweat close to if not more from tanning outside than working out inside. You shouldn't have to sacrifice your summer glow to heat exhaustion, so it's important to always have a bottle of water on you and to keep drinking from it even when you don't necessarily feel thirsty. #SpoonTip: To make your water a little more tasty, try diluting it with coconut water, which will also help to replenish the electrolytes that you lose when you sweat.


No big surprise here, but stocking up on fruits and veggies high in water content is one of the easiest ways to stay hydrated throughout the day. Cucumbers are an especially great option for their high potassium concentration, which has been linked to heart-healthy benefits like lowered blood pressure. Cucumbers are also touted for their anti-inflammatory capabilities, which can relieve those uncomfortable heat-induced headaches or even soothe a nasty sunburn. If you'd rather leave the cucumber slices for the spa by the pool, try soaking up the H20 in watermelon, lettuce, apples, or grapefruit. This apple, carrot, and peach smoothie is a refreshing, energizing drink after a grueling workout class, while these zucchini sushi rolls are a fun and healthy take on a hydrating snack. 


This may sound counter-intuitive, but munching on a lightly salted snack when you start to feel those nasty symptoms of heat exhaustion might be the quickest way to feel better. Heat exhaustion has been linked to two primary causes: salt depletion or water depletion. Signs of each type vary slightly, with salt depletion leading to nausea and cramping, while water depletion tends to cause headaches and fainting. Therefore, if you are experiencing symptoms of salt, a bowl of pretzels may do more to relieve your pain than a bowl of watermelon. Since salt retains water, it can be a great way to combat heat exhaustion, but too much can also make you feel bloated. Stick to lightly salted snacks like Blue Diamond almonds or Snapea Crisps if you aren't in the mood for pretzels.


If you have yet to board the artichoke love boat, you are seriously missing out. Not only does this miracle vegetable look beautiful, it also offers a myriad of health benefits in a relatively small serving. Full of fiber, vitamins C and K, and packed with antioxidants, artichokes have been linked to cancer prevention and improved heart and liver health, but they also offer a great source of potassium and electrolytes for preventing heat exhaustion. There are so many ways to prepare artichoke, but a personal favorite of mine is to blend it into a dip to make the perfect poolside snack. Bring this homemade spinach and artichoke dip to your next summer BBQ to impress all your friends (and to save them from heat exhaustion! It's a win-win). 

Whether you are chilling by the pool or jogging on the beach, putting effort into including hydrating, replenishing foods and drinks in your summer diet is definitely worth sweating over. Heat exhaustion is a serious condition that, if ignored, can lead to much graver consequences. Summer is a great time to get a tan and enjoy the outdoors, but it's important that we consider the adverse effects the sun can have on our bodies to keep ourselves and our friends safe.