Did you know that our bodies are 60% water? Everything in your body needs water to work well. Losing too much water, or dehydration, can lead to fatigue, headache, dizziness, and if we’re chronically dehydrated can lead to constipation, kidney stones, urinary tract infections, and problems thinking.
How do we prevent dehydration? The old “8 glasses of water per day” may not be what everyone needs. There are two ways we become dehydrated: by not taking in enough fluid or by losing too much. During this hot weather, losing a lot of water through sweat can be an issue. Although we get fluids from both our food and all of our beverages, in hot weather we need to think extra hard about drinking enough, especially water. Plain water is a good choice because it doesn’t come with extra calories!
Although thirst is one of the body’s way to tell us we need water, it isn’t always enough to keep us drinking as much as we need to. This can be true for older adults, for adults that are exercising heavily, or for kids who may get caught up playing and ignore the need to stop and get a drink! One way to tell if you’re drinking enough fluids is from the color of your urine. The darker it is, the more dehydrated you are – urine should be lightly colored.
In these times, public sources of water (water fountains and faucets) may be blocked off or unsafe to use. Take a reusable water bottle filled with water when you are “out and about.”
Try these additional tips to make sure you’re staying hydrated:
- Water is the best choice – try adding fruit or herbs for flavor, like lemon and lime or cucumber and mint
- Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink, especially in high temperatures
- Drink water between meals and with snacks
- Try snacking on more of the delicious water-dense fruits and veggies around in summer, like watermelon, grapes, citrus fruits, cucumbers, and tomatoes
Beth Olson is an Associate Professor & Extension SpecialistThis article was posted in Nutrition News.