In this week’s episode we talk about hydration status and determining if you are drinking enough water throughout the day. We discuss why water is important, how much you need daily, and how to increase your daily intake.
Are you drinking enough water? Let’s find out.
By: Tricia Stefankiewicz
I want to spend some time this week talking about hydration status and determining if you are drinking enough water throughout the day. We will talk about why water is important, how much you need daily, and how to increase your intake.
Why is water important for your body?
An adult body is made up of at least 50-60% of water. Water is required for every cell, tissue, and organ to function. Water helps regulate temperature, rid body of waste, and transport essential nutrients into cells, so they work properly. It aids in digestion and helps give skin a healthy glow. The daily amount required varies according to age, gender, weight, and overall lifestyle.
One recommendation comes from The National Academies of Sciences and Engineering Medicine which suggests healthy women to consume approximately 2.7 liters (91 ounces daily) of total water and healthy men to consume approximately 3.7 liters (125 ounces daily) of total water from food and beverages each day.
Typically, the more you weigh the more water you need. For instance, if you are 125 lbs., you may only require 7 cups of water per day but if you weigh 225 lbs. you may require closer to 10-11 cups of water per day. Required daily water intake varies according to the individual.
Factors that increase the amount of water you need include excessive or prolonged physical activity, hot temperatures, high altitude, fever, and diarrhea. Signs that you are not drinking enough water or are dehydrated include dry mouth, dark colored urine, dizziness, intense thirst, and fatigue. Typically, if your urine is pale or clear in color and you are not feeling thirsty, you are probably drinking enough water. If you have dark amber urine and are feeling thirsty, you may not be drinking enough water for your body. It’s important to find the right amount of water that your need, because it is possible to drink too much water which is extremely dangerous and requires immediate medical attention.
About 80% of this intake typically comes from water and beverages while another 20% comes from food. Beverages such as bottled and sparkling water, zero calorie beverages (Crystal Light), and adding fruit slices like lemon and lime to water are ways to help stay hydrated. Food items that are high in water content include many fruits and vegetables such as lettuce, celery, watermelon, honeydew.
Tips to increase water intake
- Explore beverages such as bottled and sparkling water or zero calorie beverages (Crystal Light)
- Add fun things to water to make it more delicious such as: lemon, lime, mint, cucumber, oranges, or use a fruit infused water pitcher
- Alternate water with caffeinated beverages like tea, coffee, and soda. For each caffeinated beverage consumed, add a water beverage after. Coffee and green and black teas may act as a mild diuretic and cause you to produce urine.
- Drink water before, during, and after exercise. It is important to replace fluid lost with physical activity. The more intense and prolonged the exercise it, the more water you may require.
- Fill up a large container of water each morning according to how much water you require in a day. Make sure to drink that amount by day’s end.
- Have a glass of water each morning when you wake up and before you brush your teeth at night.
- Always keep a container of water with you so that you can be proactive when it comes to hydration status.
Even a small change like making sure you are staying hydrated can lead to health benefits, when compounded with other small habits, can have a profound improvement in your health over time. Some days I’m better at habit building than other days. You may feel that way too. Whole Health is not an impossibility – but only you can make it happen!