Hydration101

It’s just about summer time and with that comes hot and humid weather…

As a dietitian, that’s my cue to remind all of my clients about the importance of hydration. While hydration is important all year long, it is particularly important during this time of year as the body often loses more fluid and you may be at an increased risk of dehydration. 

So let’s get started! 

Did you know…approximately 50 to 70% of an adult’s body weight is water?

Functions of Water in the Body:

  • Regulates body temperature
  • Helps transport nutrients and waste products between organs
  • Moistens tissues in the eyes, nose and mouth
  • Aids in digestion and prevents constipation
  • Helps with metabolism 
  • Protects and moisturizes joints

Just 2% loss of your body weight in water can lead to dehydration, which may cause complications including: 

  • Mental confusion
  • Fatigue
  • Decreased attention span
  • Decreased motor control
  • Short and long-term memory difficulties
  • Inability to regulate healthy body temperature

Top Tips To Stay Hydrated This Summer:

  1. Start each morning with water before having tea, coffee or juice.
    • I like to fill up a pint glass with filtered water and then add juice from 1/2 lemon and 2tsp of apple cider vinegar. It really wakes up the body from the inside out!
  2. Keep a water bottle at work. Place a sticky note on your computer as a reminder to fill up.
  3. Drink one or two cups of water before a meal (added bonus: may help with weight loss!)
    • If you need a cue to remember to drink your water, use your meals as a reminder! 
  4. Place a rubber band around the bottom of your water bottle after each fill up to keep track throughout the day.
    • Aim to refill the bottle 2 to 3 times! 
  5. Flavor your water with fresh cucumber, oranges, ginger, mint, lemon, lime or watermelon.
    • Water doesn’t have to be boring…but avoid adding the artificial crap and go for real, fresh ingredients! 
  6. Use an app, like Waterlogged, to set reminders and keep track of daily water intake.

How much fluid should you drink each day?

*Pro-Tip #1: Take your body weight in pounds and divide it by 2 to get the number of ounces of fluid to consume each day. 

Example: If you weigh 150lb, you should have 75-ounces of fluid per day—about 9.5, 8-ounce cups

If your BMI is over 30, you may consider using your ideal body weight to calculate this number. I often use the weight if your BMI were ~25. To find this number, go here.

*Pro-Tip #2: You’ll know you are well hydrated by monitoring your urine. Check to make sure it is a pale yellow color and translucent without any apparent odor. This is an easy way to ensure you are drinking enough fluid! 

Remember that total water intake comes not only from water, which is best, but also from other beverages such as tea and juice (80%) and from food (20%).

These foods contain at least 90% water:

  • Cucumber
  • Cauliflower                        
  • Strawberries       
  • Iceberg lettuce                  
  • Watermelon                      
  • Cantaloupe
  • Celery                
  • Spinach                                
  • Broccoli
  • Radishes                  
  • Green Peppers                
  • Grapefruit
  • Tomatoes              
  • Star Fruit                                 

Be aware of certain foods and chemicals that can be dehydrating:

  • Caffeinated coffee/tea—if consuming more than 500 mg per day (equivalent to >3 cups of coffee)
  • Alcohol—depletes cells of water, which can cause fatigue and headaches
  • High-Protein Diets—the body uses more water to metabolize naturally occurring nitrogen in protein, which causes cells to lose more water

Not a water fan? Try out some of these healthy beverage alternatives!

  • Kombucha (fermented tea, various flavors)
  • Kevita (sparkling probiotic drink)
  • Hint Water or Hint Fizz (water with a “hint” of flavor, unsweetened)
  • Carbonated water (avoid those sweetened with artificial flavoring)
  • Mineral/Sparkling water (Perrier, San Pellegrino)
  • Water with a splash of 100% juice (or Infuser Water bottle to infuse fresh fruit flavors naturally)
  • Broth (soup, just check for lower sodium varieties)
  • Unsweetened hot or iced tea (green, black, oolong, herbal)
  • Coffee (hot or iced, decaf or regular, limit to 2 cups per day)
  • Milk (dairy or non-dairy, avoid sweetened varieties)

So make a goal this summer to stay hydrated…not only will you look better as your skin is glowing and vibrant and your eyes are a bright white, but you’ll also feel better! Your metabolism will work optimally and you’ll prevent any of the harmful effects of dehydration. 

 

References:

http://iom.nationalacademies.org/Reports/2004/Dietary-Reference-Intakes-Water-Potassium-Sodium-Chloride-and-Sulfate.aspx

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256?pg=1

http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20709014,00.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/31/worst-dehydrating-foods_n_3354216.html

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100823142929.htm

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/6-tips-for-staying-hydrated.html