As the summer heat settles upon us, here are some tips from our nutritionists on how to stay hydrated and why it is important.
- What are the signs of dehydration and what are the risks of dehydration? By the time you sense you’re thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Besides thirst, other signs of dehydration include dry or sticky mouth, dark yellow urine, headache, or muscle cramps. Becoming severely dehydrated can put you at risk for dizziness, rapid breathing, shock, unconsciousness, or delirium.
- Why is it important to stay hydrated? Your body is up to 60% water – so your body needs water! Staying hydrated helps regulate body temperature, lubricate and cushion joints, protect your spine and other sensitive organs, and eliminate waste through urine and perspiration.
- How much water should a person drink? The amount of water a person needs depends on many factors, so it’s hard to set one standard. It’s best to sip on water throughout the day to ensure adequate hydration. However, if you are looking for a starting goal the USDA recommends women drink 10 cups per day and men drink 15 cups per day.
- Aside from the faucet, what are other sources of water? Water is also found in our foods. Broth soups and many fruits and vegetables are water packed—this includes celery, cucumber, tomatoes, melons, and citrus fruits.
- Are there factors that influence how much water a person should drink on a regular basis? Your body needs more water if you are in hot climates, more physically active, running a fever, or having diarrhea or vomiting. Uncontrolled diabetes or certain medications, like diuretics, can increase urination which would increase the need for fluid intake.
- What are some ideas you can offer for people who don’t like water? Most people have heard about lemon water- but what about lime, orange, kiwi, strawberry, melon, or mint water? Slice up your fruit and toss into water. The flavor will intensify if you leave the water to sit for several hours. Also try seltzer, flavored water, like Aquafina Flavor Splash or Hint water, or unsweetened tea; and freeze water bottles to keep water cold, as most people prefer the taste of cold water. Finally, use post-it notes to leave reminders to drink water throughout the day.
- Is there such a thing as being over-hydrated? What are some of the signs of over-hydration? Typically, kidneys will excrete extra water to prevent over-hydration. Although rare, over-hydration can be a concern if excessive water is causing your sodium levels to decrease. Signs of over-hydration can actually be similar to dehydration and include lethargy or confusion.
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