Drink and Eat Your Water!
By Nancy Oliveira, MS, RD, LDN
Our bodies are made of 55-60% water and we need to replenish that water daily for good health. Our bodies use water for almost every little task like helping to break down food, carrying nutrients to our cells, lubricating joints, and keeping our body temperature normal. If you lose even 1% of your body water, you may start to feel fatigued. Your body loves plain water because it has no additives and is absorbed quickly. If you don't like plain water try these tips:
- Add a slice of lemon, lime or cucumber
- Add herbs like mint (use the end of a wooden spoon to tap the leaves a few times to release the flavor), lavender or basil
- Serve it at different temperatures (chilled with ice cubes or sipped warm)
- Add a small amount of artificially sweetened water enhancers like MIO drops or Crystal Light
- Trial no-calorie flavored seltzers or club soda
Don't depend mainly on soda, coffee or teas that contain caffeine, which can increase urination and lead to dehydration. Alcohol also increases urination.
How much fluid do I need?
An easy rule of thumb is to divide your weight in pounds by 2. The resulting number is how about many ounces of fluid you should drink each day:
Example: 150 pounds/2 = 75 ounces OR 9 cups daily
You can also check the color of your urine. Clear or light yellow usually signals that you are hydrated; dark yellow or brown, or concentrated thick urine may signal that you are dehydrated. If you are exercising heavily, have a fever, or taking certain medications, you may need even more fluid.
Water does not have to be the only way to replace fluid in your diet.
Consider eating foods that are rich in water:
- Iceberg lettuce, cucumbers (96% water)
- Tomatoes, zucchini (94% water)
- Spinach, eggplant, strawberries, cabbage, bell peppers (92% water)
- Watermelon, grapefruit, broccoli (91% water)
- Yogurt, cantaloupe (90% water)
Do I need a sports drink like Gatorade?
Sports drinks contain the minerals sodium and potassium, which are lost with heavy sweating, such as during prolonged exercise, hard labor, or spending several hours outdoors in strong sun or hot weather. You can easily replenish these minerals with a snack (handful of salty pretzels or potato chips and a cup of orange juice), but some prefer the ease of sports drinks, which are portable and quickly digested. Many contain calories in the form of sugar, so choose no-calorie versions if you decide to drink these.