Find out how you can stay hydrated without it feeling like a chore!
The Word on Water
Here in Utah and across the nation, the hot weather has arrived. During these summer months, you may have hydration on your mind. We know that water is necessary for carrying out our body’s vital functions and that maintaining proper hydration helps keep us energized throughout the day, but sometimes drinking one glass of water after another can feel like a chore.
By learning more about your fluid needs, as well as practical ways to meet these needs, you’ll be well on your way to hydration optimization during the heat of the summer! In the June issue of Food Insight published by the International Food Information Council Foundation, Kerry Robinson, RD, and Jennifer Arougheti, undergraduate dietetic student and IFIC Foundation intern, share the following information:
How Much Water Do We Need?
According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), healthy women need 91 ounces (2.7 liters) of water daily and healthy men need 125 ounces (3.7 liters) of water daily. In terms of the 0.5-liter water bottles commonly sold in the supermarket, women and men need about five and seven bottles, respectively. Your water needs can increase during exercise, extreme temperatures and illness. Being aware of these environmental and biological factors will help you adjust your water intake and stay hydrated.
Does It Always Have to Be Water?
You may be surprised to learn that staying hydrated does not mean drinking just water. In fact, all sorts of liquids, including milk, juice, sports drinks, tea, soda, coffee and even watery foods such as fruits and vegetables can contribute to your daily water intake. Despite popular belief, you don’t have to avoid beverages containing caffeine to stay hydrated. According to a report from the IOM, although caffeine has mild diuretic effects, it does not cause dehydration. Caffeine-containing beverages contribute to your total daily water intake similar to non-caffeinated drinks.
Whether playing sports, resting on the beach or running errands, it’s important to be mindful of the early signs of dehydration. Thirst is your first line of defense to signal that your body needs water, but that doesn’t mean you should wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Drink “proactively,” whether thirsty or not, to ensure that your body does not reach the point of dehydration.
Actions You Can Take TODAY to Stay Hydrated and Healthy:
Drink throughout the day. Sipping liquids throughout the day effectively rehydrates your body and enhances water retention.
Pick a drink of appeal. If you don’t like water, many other drinks (milk, juice and flavored water, just to name a few) can help keep you hydrated. Chances are, if you enjoy the beverage, you’ll drink more of it!
Fit hydration into your schedule.
Stock beverages in convenient and accessible places, such as in your car, by your bed or on your desk. This way, there’s no excuse not to sip throughout the day.
Think outside the glass.
Foods contain water too! Twenty percent of your daily water intake comes from food, so choose “watery foods,” such as lettuce, watermelon and grapefruit to help keep your body hydrated.
When it comes to hydration, many types of liquids and watery foods can help you meet your fluid needs. What’s your favorite way to stay hydrated?
This article was written by Margie Memmott.
Margie Memmott is an Extension Associate Professor for Utah State University and has been serving families and communities for over 23 years. She earned degrees in Family and Consumer Sciences from BYU and USU and loves to teach youth and adults valuable life skills. “What a great reward when others adopt these principles and apply the tools to improve their everyday lives.” In her spare time Margie enjoys creative textiles/sewing, crocheting, music, technology, four wheeling in the ‘RZR’ and most of all, being with her family.