Water – and staying hydrated – is a crucial tool in your MOVE! program’s tool belt to preventing the negative effects of dehydration.
Dehydration occurs when there is not enough water in the body. Water loss naturally happens throughout the day. Our bodies naturally get rid of water as we breath, through various biological processes, and by slowly evaporating through the skin to help maintain body temperature. Signs of dehydration include dark colored urine, fatigue, dizziness and confusion.
According to HANES data, in 2005-2010, U.S. youth drank an average of 15 ounces of water and in 2011-2014, U.S. adults drank an average of 39 ounces of water on a given day. These figures are low.
Staying hydrated has many health benefits. Barring any specific medical conditions, most people should drink when they are thirsty. You should try to get at least half of your daily fluid from water.
Fluids can be consumed through various foods and other beverages, such as:
- calorie-free flavored water.
- fruit and vegetable juices with no added sugars.
- milk and milk-substitutes.
- decaffeinated and herbal teas.
- low sodium broth or soups.
A common complaint to registered dietitians is that drinking water gets boring. But there are many ways to flavor your water by livening up your cup with fruit and herbs. These can be added to both hot or cold water:
- Citrus fruit – Add lemons, limes, oranges, and/or grapefruit to water.
- Mint – Break apart or muddle the leaves to release the flavor.
- Pomegranate seeds.
- Orange, lemon, lime, strawberries and cucumber are all good options.
- Sliced cucumber and citrus fruit.
- Ginger and lemon.
- Strawberries and mint.
- Cucumber, lemon, mint and rosemary.
Try these flavor combinations or freeze them into ice cubes to add later to water. This is a great way to add nutrition to your glass. Staying hydrated may even help prevent headaches, aid in relieving constipation, and help with preventing kidney stones.
Always have a bottle of water with you – treat it like your phone, so the water bottle goes wherever you go. Listen in on this episode for more tips on staying hydrated!
Jim Morrison, BS, is as a dietetic intern at the Marion VA.