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, replenishing our body with water 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, regulate body temperature, transport 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, fatigue, poor skin elasticity, dark yellow to amber color urine, and infrequent urination to name a few. This can help indicate you are not consuming enough water.
How much water do you need? According to the Institute of medicine it 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, it’s recommended to drink 80 oz (or 10 cups) of water a day.
Another method to use if you are a calorie counter, is 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. Become more cognizant of how much water you are consuming daily as 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? Anything that turns to liquid in room temperature can attribute to your fluid intake for example, 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, beach days, and engaging in summer activities like volleyball or swimming.
*If you have certain conditions like congestive heart failure or kidney failure you want to consult with your healthcare professional to determine the safest amount of fluids to consume.