Health Victories

Hydration and why it’s important

Glass of water with ice
Written by Adrianne Smith

About 60% of the human body is made up of water. The general recommendation for water consumption in a day is 3.7 liters for men and 2.7 liters for women. However, certain medical conditions can affect the amount of water you need. The best way to see if you are hydrated is to look at your urine color. Pale and clear urine indicates proper hydration; dark yellow color indicates dehydration, meaning you need to drink more water. Conditions affecting fluid needs include:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart Failure
  • Renal disease
  • Liver damage
  • Endocrine and adrenal gland issues Hyponatremia
  • Elevated Hormones

But, why is staying hydrated so important? Water regulates body temperature, keeps joints lubricated, prevents infections, delivers nutrients to cells, and keeps organs functioning properly. Proper hydration can also improve sleep quality, brain function, and overall mood. Water is the best choice when it comes to staying hydrated. Certain foods can provide us with water, such as fruits, vegetables, and soup. Examples of fruits and vegetables high in water content are:

  • Watermelon
  • Grapes
  • Citrus
  • Pineapple
  • Lettuce
  • Cucumber
  • Radish
  • Celery
  • Zucchini

Many of us want to consume drinks like sodas or sweet tea when we are thirsty. However, these drinks are high in added sugars and calories, which can lead to weight gain and diabetes. If you are like many and find the lack of flavor in water unappealing, try adding fresh fruits or vegetables, such as berries or cucumbers, to make naturally infused water. In addition, using natural sweeteners like stevia to sweeten your water, coffee, or tea can also help limit added sugar intake. In addition, there are plenty of varieties of liquid water enhancers on the market now. Some of these options include Mio, Crystal Light, Stur, NULO, etc. The benefits of these water enhancers are that they increase fluid intake and reduce the risk of dehydration without the addition of sugar and/or calories, are cost-effective, may give a boost of energy, and provide a variety of flavors.

Click this link for flavored water combinations

If you are undergoing cancer treatment, you are likely to experience vomiting or diarrhea. Individuals who have excessive loss of body fluids due to illness must drink more water to avoid dehydration. Some common symptoms of this include dry mouth, loose and crinkled skin, little or no urine output, headache, and dizziness. If you can’t keep fluids down, try ice, popsicles, or little sips of liquids to minimize the risk of dehydration. In addition, drinking sports drinks, such as Gatorade, Powerade, Body Armor, Liquid IV, and Pedialyte can often be helpful when trying to replace electrolyte losses. A bonus is that many of these sports drinks now have lower sugar options. However, if observe any signs of dehydration please contact your doctor immediately, as you may need IV hydration.

Many foods or drinks can result in dehydration. Salty foods can cause your kidneys to remove the extra salt into your urine, pulling water with it. Therefore, it is advised to limit salty foods to less than 2,300 mg per day. Beverages containing caffeine and alcohol can also dehydrate you due to the natural diuretics in these items which can lead to more trips to the bathroom. Overall, if you eat or drink these kinds of food, you need more water to balance your body out!

Drinking water is an essential part of life but can be heavy on your pockets. Cost-effective ways to stay hydrated with water include:

  • Refrain from buying single-use bottled water

The cost of a single bottle of water might not seem like much, but when you compare it to the unit price of a jug of water, it is easy to see how buying bottled water can add up. Solution: Invest in reusable water bottles that can be refilled.

  • Buy a filter container

If you are tempted to drink filtered water but do not have a built-in system at home, you may investigate getting a filtered water container (i.e., Brita filter). Many come in pitcher and spigot varieties that are simple to use and store in a refrigerator.

  • Install a water filtration system

This is one of the most practical ways to save water because you no longer must spend a massive amount of money on bottled water. Instead, the water is at your disposal. Installing or buying a water filtration system can be as easy as replacing your refrigerator with one that contains a water filtration system or hooking one up to your sink.

Overall, there are so many reasons why everyone must maintain proper hydration! If you need help getting there, try to remember these few tips as a recap of what we discussed:

  • Keep a reusable water bottle (24-32 oz.) with you throughout the day to remind you to drink more water. Refill 2-3 three times a day when possible.
  • Set a reminder or use a Drink More Water app on your phone to remind you to drink water if you are too busy. Try to drink a glass of water every hour.
  • Replace some of your sugar-sweetened beverages with water or zero-calorie flavored water to reduce added sugar intake.
  • Drink a glass of water before each meal to build the habit and reduce food intake if you are trying to lose weight.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables that have a higher percentage of water content, such as melons, lettuce, and celery.
  • Make a habit to drink one glass of water when you wake up and before you go to bed.