By Carlie Saint-Laurent Beaucejour, MS, RD, LDN
Summer is here which means staying hydrated is essential for a safe and healthy summer. Approximately 60-70% of water makes up the human body. Therefore, staying hydrated during summer is key to maintain homeostasis, the balance of physical and chemical properties in our body. Clean water is a basic human right with essential bodily functions. Water helps lubricate joints, tissues, and organs and regulate body temperature. It also transports substances throughout the body, maintain a healthy blood volume, and promotes good oral health.
So how do you know if you’re hydrating adequately? First, know the symptoms of dehydration. Common signs of dehydration are dry mouth, headache, dizziness, irritability, and fatigue. Some signs also include poor skin elasticity, dark yellow to amber color urine, and infrequent urination to name a few. Doing so can help indicate you are not consuming enough water.
How much water do you need? Institute of medicine recommends 9 cups for women and 13 cups for men of water a day. There are a few ways to figure out the amount of water you need each day. You may have heard drink half of your body weight in ounces (oz). For example, if you weigh 160 lbs., divide that by 2. Experts recommend drinking 80 oz (or 10 cups) of water a day.
If you are a calorie counter, you may opt to consume the same amount of water as calories in milliliters (ml). For example, if you aim to consume around 2,000 calories a day you would consume 2,000 ml (or 8 cups) of water a day.
The optimal method is to listen to your body. Therefore, be more cognizant of how much water you are consuming daily. Major factors like climate temperature, age, diet, health, and activity level an individual engages varies person to person.
Not a huge proponent of drinking water? That is ok! Did you know about 20% of your food intake counts towards your water goals? Having said that, anything that turns to liquid in room temperature can attribute to your fluid intake. Examples include pudding, yogurt, and popsicles, but do remember that these contribute to your caloric energy intake, unlike water which has zero calories.
A few more tips to make drinking water more fun are:
-Increase consumption of fruits and vegetables that have high water content like cucumbers, tomatoes, watermelon, grapes, and lettuce.
-Keep a reusable water bottle within reach at all times.
– “Eat your water”. Soups and smoothie bowls count towards your water intake, plus they typically contain fruits and veggies.
-Dilute beverages like fruit juice with water or add extra ice cubes.
-Add fruit juice cubes (freeze 100% fruit juice like white grape or apple in ice trays) to seltzer or plain water.
– Plan to bring extra water on road trips, hiking, and beach days. Additionally, you can engage in summer activities like volleyball or swimming.
*Despite the list above, it is crucial to consult first with your healthcare professional especially if you have certain conditions like congestive heart failure or kidney failure, This is to determine the safest amount of fluids to consume.