What is hydration, and why is it so important?
Water is known as the solvent for life. For our bodies, that means that it is vital for every chemical reaction, whether it is metabolism, regulating vitamin and mineral status, or maintaining body temperature. Approximately 70% of our body’s mass comes from water, and even a 1-2% drop in hydration can negatively impact health.
Functions of Water:
· Nutrient Transport
· Maintenance of cardiovascular functions (heart rate, blood pressure)
· Cognitive function
· Electrolyte balance
· Cell and tissue structure
· Protection/lubrication of joints and organs
Signs of Dehydration:
· Dizziness, lightheadedness, confusion
· Dry mouth, bad breath
· Muscle cramps
· Nausea, constipation
· Rapid heartbeat, heart palpitations
· Rapid breathing
· Dark urine or infrequent urination
Sources of Water Loss:
· Urine, stool
· Sweat, skin
Tips to Increase Water Intake
Despite popular claims from health coaches and self-proclaimed nutritionists, infusing water with fruits, vegetables, and herbs will not “detox” your body. However, adding these items may help increase your fluid intake by making your beverage more exciting and flavorful. Here are a few flavored water ideas that work well with fresh or frozen produce.
· Lemon, Lime, or Orange (or a combination of them!)
· Strawberry & Pineapple
· Strawberry, Lemon, & Mint
· Cucumber & Mint
· Strawberry & Basil
· Watermelon & Basil
· Blueberry, Lemon, & Rosemary
Set a Reminder
Sometimes we get so busy that we may completely overlook thirst cues, leading to dehydration. Whether it is a timer on your watch, your phone, or even a kitchen timer, setting a reminder for yourself can help you be more mindful of your fluid intake until it becomes a habit. If we are lost in our work, that timer also serves as a reminder to pause for a moment and give our minds a break.
Find a Water Bottle You Like
Do you like bottles with straws, do you need a larger water bottle to motivate you, or do you simply like see-through water bottle so you can gauge your progress? Whatever it may be, finding a water bottle that you enjoy using can help encourage you to stay hydrated!
How Much Water Do We Need?
As a rule of thumb, the minimum amount of fluid we should consume in one day is 0.5 oz per pound of body weight. For example, someone that weighs 170 lbs would need a minimum of 85 oz per day (170 * 0.5 = 85). This need may vary with physical activity, extreme temperatures, health conditions, and certain medications.