The importance of adequate hydration
Your body depends on water to survive. Every organ in your body relies on water to work properly. Functions of water in your body includes regulating body temperature, removes waste by lessening the burden on the kidneys and liver, lubricates joints, carries oxygen to and nutrients to cells, and protects body organs and tissues. By consuming the minimum recommendation for water, you are helping your body function better by improving your overall health. For the average woman, the recommendation is 11.5 cups a day, and for the average man, the recommendation is 15.5 cups a day.
Drinking enough water throughout each day can sometimes be a harder task than it seems. Here are some tips that can help you get enough water and reach your recommended amount.
- Drink a glass of water when you wake up and before meals – in addition to prioritizing water at least 3 times a day, drinking water before meals can help you slow down during mealtime. If you start a meal with an empty stomach, it is easier to eat faster and eat more than your body needs.
- Eat your water – fruits and vegetables have a high water content that will help you meet your daily recommendation. Fruits like cantaloupe, strawberries, and watermelon and vegetables like lettuce, cabbage, celery, spinach, and cooked squash are about 90% water.
- Flavor your water – if you think water is plain, try adding fruits/vegetables like lime, lemon, and cucumbers to your water. There are also flavored water and water packs, but make sure that they are sugar free to maximize the benefits of the water.
- Avoid alcohol, sugary drinks, and caffeine – these fluids work against hydration. This includes drinks like coffee, sugar sodas, beer, wine, liquor, lemonade, sweet tea, energy drinks, smoothies, and flavored milks.
- Replenish when you sweat – it is even more important to drink water and electrolytes when you are active or playing sports. It is important to drink before, during, and after the activity. The recommendations are to drink 17-20 ounces 2-3 hours before you exercise, drink 7 ounces 20-30 minutes before you exercise, drink 7-10 ounces every 20 minutes during exercise, and then drink another 8 ounces no more than 30 minutes after exercise.
- Keep a water bottle with you throughout the day – if you have a water bottle that you enjoy drinking out of with you throughout the day, you’re more likely to stay steadily hydrated. There are even some water bottles available that remind you to drink by using lights.
By incorporating these tips and making sure you are aware of other environmental elements (weather and humidity, and sweat/activity length), you can ensure you are adequately hydrated and providing your body the water it needs to keep working properly.