As the temperature rises this summer, drinking enough water is more important than ever to stay hydrated and energized. Water is a critical nutrient, and every system in your body needs water to function properly including the heart, brain and muscles. In addition, water helps to pump blood through the blood vessels to the muscles, cushions and protects organs, and regulates body temperature and sweating. Water also helps to promote satiety and helps your metabolism run efficiently.
Dehydration happens when you lose more fluid than you take in, and your body doesn’t have enough water to perform normal tasks. Even mild dehydration can cause dizziness, tiredness, and headaches. Other side effects of dehydration include thirst, flushed skin, nausea, and decreased concentration.
To prevent dehydration, it’s important to drink enough water to replace fluid lost during basic activities like sweating, breathing, and trips to the restroom. While many general recommendations suggest drinking eight, eight-ounce glasses of water each day, this number varies depending on age, gender, activity level, medications, and environment. According to the National Institutes of Health, children need anywhere from four to 12 cups of water per day, adult women need about nine cups of water per day, and adult men need about 13 cups of water per day. For women, these needs also increase during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
To stay hydrated in a healthy way, reach for water, sparkling water, infused water, unsweetened tea, and unsweetened coconut water. Sports drinks with electrolytes may be needed to rehydrate after intense sweating and activity in hot weather but are not typically necessary. Fruits, vegetables and dairy products also supply fluid as they are naturally high in water. Include a variety of these types of foods in your diet to further boost your level of hydration.
If you’re bored with plain water, try infusing it with fresh fruits, veggies and herbs to enhance the flavor. Simply prep your add-ins by washing all produce and herbs, chopping them up and then adding to cold water. You can drink immediately or allow to sit overnight for a more intense flavor. Experiment with these tasty combinations or create your own:
Blueberries + Lime + Mint
Pineapple + Lemon + Pomegranate
Raspberries + Lime + Mint
Cucumber + Lemon + Mint
If you have any other questions or would like more information about healthy hydration, email our Weis dietitian team at email@example.com or listen to this episode, Drink Up, of the Weis HealthyBites podcast.