Country Lore: Beat Heat Stress With Tomato Juice

article image
Photo courtesy Comugnero Silvana
Tomato juice works surprisingly well at keeping dehydration at bay.

When I was a child growing up in rural Arkansas, the field hands and factory workers I knew popped salt tablets and drank tomato juice to deal with heat stress. Salt tablets have long since fallen out of favor, and so too, I thought, had tomato juice.

One hot day I was hiking in the Missouri Ozarks when I suddenly became dizzy and felt sick to my stomach. My husband, recognizing my symptoms as dehydration, insisted that I drink some tomato juice.

Feeling ill as I did, the last thing I wanted to put in my stomach was a thick, salty, soup-like liquid. My husband persevered, however, saying that an NFL trainer had once recommended tomato juice to him. Some of the players, the trainer said, swore by the stuff and claimed that it was better than Gatorade for replacing lost electrolytes.

Reluctantly, I took a sip, then quickly slugged down the rest. Within five minutes I had recovered and even felt like setting out on another hike. Now, I too swear by tomato and V-8 juice. If you’re going to be out in the heat, bring along some plain water and tomato juice. If you find the juice a little thick, you can thin it down with a few ice cubes.