Wiki Spanish Food editorial team
Summer began just a few weeks ago and it seems that, for the moment, Spaniards won't be getting a break from the very hot weather. Going to the beach, to the pool and having a beer on a shaded terrace are great ways to beat the heat. Anything goes when it comes to surviving these months which, according to the Spanish Weather Agency, are the hottest in the last 40 years.
But whatever your strategy, water should be by your side at all times, as it will help you weather these months when our bodies need to be well hydrated. Nevertheless, it seems like Spaniards must continuously be reminded as they don't stay hydrated. According to data from the survey "Spaniards' hydration habits in summer", by Madison Market Research and the Beer and Health Information Center, only 24% of people know how much liquid they should drink on a daily basis. Although that amount varies depending on different factors such as age, gender and physical activity, the recommendation is to drink between 2 and 2.5 liters, according to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), one half liter more than the real amount Spaniards drink.
People who don't know this can suffer from heat stroke or dehydration, common problems in summer which seriously affect our bodies. Thirst, headaches and dizziness are some of the symptoms that can be avoided by simply drinking liquids during the course of the day.
Water is the primary component of our cells and is our main source of hydration, but there are other beverages that are also excellent options in summer. In fact, to avoid the effects of dehydration, the Spanish Society of Dietetics and Food Science (SEDCA) recommends "drinking sufficient water throughout the day, even if you're not thirsty, with the possibility of drinking other beverages such as beer"
According to SEDCA, drinking a beer is one way to stay hydrated on summer's hottest days. Beer, which is 92% water, can help beat the heat, provided that it is consumed in moderation and responsibly, i.e. 2 or 3 beers per day for men and 1 or 2 for women. According to Professor Jesús Román Martínez's Manual on hydration and beer, “it's primarily recommendable to drink water, and then beer, to quench your thirst during the hottest months”.
Moreover, among its recommendations, SEDCA focuses especially on those groups which are more likely to become dehydrated, such as the elderly, athletes, and women who are pregnant or nursing. As for beer lovers in the latter two categories, alcohol-free beer is a great alternative. "Drinking liquids is usually difficult for older people due to a lower perception of thirst, with the result that beer, due to its flavor, may be a valid and desirable option to avoid dehydration", says Professor Román Martínez.
Hydration is also extremely important for athletes, a constantly-growing segment that is susceptible to dehydration. It's important to always have consideration for the loss of liquids during physical exercise, especially if it's very hot out. In that case, moderate consumption of both traditional and alcohol-free beer may be a good option when trying to drink the right amount of liquids, not only because of its high water content, but also due to maltodextrin, a carbohydrate that favors the absorption of water and the additional presence of certain vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidants.
If you're concerned about eating a balanced diet and not gaining weight in summer, it's worth noting that several studies have shown that moderate beer consumption does not lead to weight gain. In fact, a 200 ml beer has just 90 Kcal and a non-alcoholic beer has an average of just 34 Kcal.