The face-melting heat has returned to Malaysia at the time of this writing. As such, we bikers are faced with dehydration when we ride.
Hydration is essential because being dehydrated will lead to drowsiness, muscle aches, headaches, loss of concentration, among others.
So, that means we need to chug down as much fluids as possible right? That correct? But there are certain drinks that we should consume, and there are those we should stay away from.
What to drink
First and foremost, do remember that although sugar provides energy, it actually hastens dehydration. With that in mind, let us carry on.
Water is the best drink to stave off dehydration, keep the body cool, and flush out toxins. The body needs water to function properly so imagine if you are extremely dehydrated. Besides, you can splash water on yourself to cool down, too.
2. Isotonic (sport) drinks
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Isotonic drinks such as 100 Plus, Gatorade contain electrolytes. Electrolytes help the body's cells function properly so it is good to replace the former lost through perspiration. However, consume in moderation as some contain sugar and never replace water entirely.
3. Watermelon juice
Watermelon juice is the best fruit juice as it contains natural sugar for energy as well as citrullin which can help to alleviate sore muscles. Again, best to consume without sugar.
4. Fruit juices
Fruit juices contain natural sugar, vitamins and minerals. So they are great choices to kill that thirst for sweetened drinks. Again, best to hold the sugar. So if you go for a smoothie, ask for a sugar free drink.
5. Coconut water
Many elders will tell you that coconut water helps to cool the body and they are not wrong. Besides that, it contains potassium which helps muscles to contract. Loss of potassium is bad for muscles because they will be paralysed in extreme cases.
6. Chrysanthemum tea/water
Chrysanthemum tea is a staple drink for the Chinese and Japanese for thousands of years. The former knows about its cooling properties, but it also contains compounds that help to lower blood pressure and its causes. And no, we do not mean the chrysanthemum drink in packets or bottles! Look for those sold at Chinese tea shops or brew your own and bring it along during your next ride.
What not to drink
1. Alcoholic beverages
You have no business being on the motorcycle if you drink beer or liquor! In fact, you should not be operating any vehicle be it on or off the road when you drink! But for the article's sake, alcohol is diuretic and flushes water out of your body, causing you to dehydrate even faster. To those who drink, please do so only when you have reached your final stop and will not ride for the rest of the day.
2. Energy drinks
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Energy drinks are the rage these days, among gamers and bikers who need instant energy. But remember, consume in sane amounts because they contain amazingly high levels of sugar and chemicals, which some are highly diuretic. In fact, certain countries may apply a minimum age limit for the sale of energy drinks. Make sure you follow up with water.
3. Soft drinks
Soft drinks are always advertised as the ultimate thirst quencher and refresher but it is far from the truth. The palate may love it but not your body because the sugar and caffeine content will dehydrate you quickly. Also, the "sugar" in soft drinks is actually high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) which is sweeter compared to refined sugar in weight and has been blamed accelerated weight gain in the United States. So, as usual, drink moderately.
4. Coffee, tea
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Coffee and tea contains caffeine that perks us up. But caffeine is diuretic. On top of that, we Malaysians love very sweet drinks and sugar staves off hydration. So, drink in moderation and as for less or without sugar.
5. Milkshake, bubble tea
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The theme is the same, you probably know by now. All contain high levels of sugar. For milkshakes, ask for yogurt to replace the ice-cream and as for bubble teas, less or no sugar.