Updated: Jul 8, 2022
Tips to Staying Hydrated this Summer!
Water is a key player in our health. Water is also one of the most neglected and essential components of nutrition. The importance of water cannot be overlooked. This is especially important in the summer, when there are record breaking temperatures.
If you experience headaches, fatigue, muscle pains, constipation, heartburn, anxiety attacks, food intolerances, joint and muscle weakness, dry skin, chapped lips, water retention, digestive problems or bad breath, you may be suffering from dehydration. Your body is about 70 percent water. The body constantly loses water throughout the day, mostly through urine and sweat but also from regular body functions like breathing. To prevent dehydration, you need to get plenty of water from drink and food every day.
Many people are dehydrated and are not even aware of it. Even mild dehydration can impair cognitive function, such as short-term memory, alertness and concentration. Being in a steady state of dehydration and fatigue interrupts the body’s energy activities, delays excretion of waste, slows recovery from exercise, and impedes weight loss.
Dehydration can result from simply not drinking enough water, or from drinking fluids such as soda, coffee or alcohol that rob your body of water. Pregnancy, breastfeeding, hot weather, exercising, and illnesses that involve a fever, vomiting, or diarrhea, also increase your body’s need for water.
Drink your water, always keep an extra water bottle handy.
Eat foods that contain a high amount of water, such as fruits, vegetables, & smoothies. You get an average of 20 percent of your water from the foods.
Fill water bottles at the start of your day and make sure you drink them by the end of the day.
Drink room temperature rather than sparkling or ice-cold water. The carbonation and cold temperature make it harder to drink a lot of water at one time, and room temperature water is easier to digest.
Are You Drinking Enough?
Water is an essential substance that is required for nearly every body process including digestion, absorption, circulation and excretion. Water is the main carrier of nutrients throughout the body and is essential for carrying out waste products.
General guidelines for ensuring proper hydration include drinking eight to ten glasses of water daily. Keep in mind that specific water needs vary from person to person based on health and activity level. Also, drinking coffee, soda and alcohol increases your body’s water requirements.
If you are not sure if you are drinking enough water, tune in to your body. Start by paying attention to the color of your urine. Dark urine indicates that your body is conserving what little water it has and is in great need of more fluids. You want your urine to be colorless or slightly yellow. It is also important to drink water before you get thirsty. Thirst is a signal of dehydration. So, if you are thirsty, drink to quench your thirst.
Another important indicator of dehydration is bowel activity. If you are not drinking enough water, your colon will reabsorb more water from your waste material and result in hard stools (and a recirculation of toxins).
Water Quality Matters
The quality of your drinking water is also very important. Tap water can still contain impurities regardless of what is considered "safe" exposure. Filtering tap water can significantly improve the water’s taste and safety and is strongly recommended. There are many different types of filters available that vary in cost and effectiveness. Reverse osmosis seems to be one of the best filtering methods. It is also best to avoid drinking water out of plastic containers. However, if you do, avoid the softer, cloudy plastic containers because they seem to leech the most chemicals into your water. Glass bottles are ideal.
How Much Water do I Need?
There are many different opinions on just how much water you should be drinking every day.
Health experts commonly recommend Eight 8-ounce glasses, which equals about 2 liters, or half a gallon a day. This is called the 8×8 rule and is very easy to remember.
However, some experts believe that you need to sip on water constantly throughout the day, even when you’re not thirsty.
As with most things, this depends on the individual. Many factors (both internal and external) ultimately affect how much water you need.
How much water you need also depends on: *Where you live. You will need more water in hot, humid, or dry areas. You’ll also need more water if you live in the mountains or at a high altitude.
*Your diet. If you drink a lot of coffee and other caffeinated beverages you might lose more water through extra urination. You will likely also need to drink more water if your diet is high in salty, spicy, or sugary foods. Or, more water is necessary if you don’t eat a lot of hydrating foods that are high in water like fresh or cooked fruits and vegetables.
The temperature or season. You may need more water in warmer months than cooler ones due to perspiration.
*Your environment. If you spend more time outdoors in the sun or hot temperatures or in a heated room, you might feel thirstier faster.
*How active you are. If you are active during the day or walk or stand a lot, you’ll need more water than someone who’s sitting at a desk. If you exercise or do any intense activity, you will need to drink more to cover water loss.
*Your health. If you have an infection or a fever, or if you lose fluids through vomiting or diarrhea, you will need to drink more water. If you have a health condition like diabetes you will also need more water. Some medications like diuretics can also make you lose water.
Pregnant or breastfeeding. If you’re pregnant or nursing your baby, you’ll need to drink extra water to stay hydrated. Your body is doing the work for two (or more), after all.
Enjoy the warm weather – but make sure you are staying hydrated!
Always check with your doctor before starting or stopping a diet regimen.
If you would like to set up an appointment with our Nutritionist / Nutrition Coach
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