Fluids & hydration – they’re important too

Your body is made up of 60% water. With that much of the body containing water, proper hydration is just as important as proper nutrition. A small amount of water loss, as little as 1.5%, can cause dehydration. Dehydration happens when the loss of fluids from your body, mostly water, exceeds the amount of fluids being taken in.

clear drinking glass

Being well hydrated is important for your body to function properly and it’s important for mental clarity. You’ve probably heard that you need 8 glasses of water each day to stay hydrated. Is this really true? How can you make sure that you are getting enough water? Let’s take a look.

How much water do you need?

While 8 glasses of water a day is a good goal, the recommendation from the National Academies of Science is that women get 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) and that men get 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids per day. Notice the use of the word fluid instead of water in the recommendation. This recommendation covers fluid from all sources – water, beverages, and food. Yes, there is fluid in food. Food can contribute up to 20% of your total fluid intake.

Why is hydration important?

There are numerous health benefits to being properly hydrated. Hydration helps with regulating your body temperature, aiding in digestion and absorption, eliminating waste, and lubricating joints. Extra benefits of proper hydration include healthy skin, improving your mood, and help with weight loss.

How can I tell if I’m properly hydrated?

For the most part, you can let thirst be your guide. If your thirsty, drink up. You can also look at the color of your urine as a guide to how hydrated you are. Dark yellow urine is typically an indication of dehydration. Pale yellow or colorless urine is an indication that you are well hydrated.

Now that we all agree that hydration is super important let’s look at some tips for staying hydrated.

  • Get a fun water bottle. Keep it with you at all times and keep it full throughout the day.
  • If you don’t like plain water, flavor your water with lemon, lime, cucumber, or other fruits and veggies.
  • Eat foods with a high water content such as watermelon, cucumber, strawberries, tomatoes, zucchini, or cantaloupe.
  • It can be difficult to remember to hydrate so set reminders to drink more water. There are even apps that will provide you with reminders and track your water intake.
  • Challenge yourself to drink more water. Start now and set a 30 day challenge to drink enough water. Soon enough it will be a habit.

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