Stay Cool this SummerJune 22, 2015
Did you know our bodies are 60% water and the human brain is 75%? Our bodies can only last 5 days without water, but can go weeks without food. Everyday we lose water through breathing, sweating and digestion and summer is the perfect time to become more aware.
What can it do? Water is the main method for controlling our body temperature. Our eyes, nose and mouth also require moisture from water to function. Our body’s natural detox system in the kidneys filters out harmful things from the blood and could not function if we were not properly hydrated. In order to break down the foods we eat, we must have enough fluids to create saliva and juices in our stomachs. There are many negative health effects of dehydration and includes headaches, kidney stones and poor memory. It is also well understood that replacement of water with sugar-sweetened beverages has negative effects on body weight and health in general. As gross as it sounds, urine color does indicate our hydration level.
How much? Most adults need anywhere from 9-13 cups daily in normal weather conditions. Drinking an extra 2 cups of water if you exercise is recommended. If exercising in the heat with rapid sweat loss, drinking water every 15 minutes is crucial for performance and hydration.
So how we stack up? According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination of 2008, US adults are only consuming 4.4 cups of water per day. Older adults and those with low fruit and vegetable reports are among the worst of the survey. Adults who exercise were linked with higher water consumption when compared to the other groups.
How to improve? Try starting by adding 1 cup of water in the morning. Water is naturally energizing and it helps to start small. Also, think about adding your own flavoring since regular water can get boring. Watermelon, mint and oranges are great options! Try adding smart phone apps or alarms to remind you to drink water during the day. Keeping a water bottle close can improve your intake all throughout the day. Drinking water when you’re out to eat not only is healthy, but saves real dollars on your bill!
1. Mayo Clinic
2. Goodman, A et al. Behaviors and Attitudes Associated With Low Drinking Water Intake Among US Adults, Food Attitudes and Behaviors Survey, 2007. Prev Chronic Dis. 2013; 10