WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE
Adult humans are 60% water, and our blood is 90% water. Every system in our body requires water. We take it for granted: Plenty of safe drinking water in Indiana! But do we actually drink enough water? And what type of water is best for us? What are the signs of dehydration? Some reliable sources of information are the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (or the CDC) as well as the National Institute for Health (NIH), Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, and WebMD health information. These sites keep their information up to date according to research and best practices. According to the CDC, we should take the advice of drinking plain water, eight 8 oz. glasses per day. However, there are some variations on that requirement: men may require more, breastfeeding increases the requirements, and anyone exercising enough to sweat need to drink more fluids. Did you know that water helps your body keep its normal temperature, lubricates and cushions your joints, and protects your spinal cord and other sensitive tissues? Adequate water intake allows your body to function correctly by eliminating wastes through urination, perspiration, and bowel movements. Having sufficient amounts of water in your body helps with blood pressure regulation, kidney function, exercise performance and cognitive function. Various types of water are available in cans and bottles. What we recommend is simply drinking clean and filtered water from tap or from a reliable water source. Elaine likes her well water at home, or natural spring water if bottled choices are available; also sparkling water instead of alcoholic beverages when out to eat is a great choice. Katia likes to use a 24 oz. refillable
insulated water bottle to help keep track of her “Water Points” which is a system she developed to stay on track with drinking water. She subtracts points for soda, coffee, tea, energy drinks and alcohol, but adds points for water intake; half a point for juice. Having a refillable water bottle is a great visual reminder to drink and having a flip top with a straw inside keeps you from having to open the bottle each time; plus it stays cleaner. Regarding the coffee, tea and pop: some research now reveals that caffeine does not dehydrate our bodies; so you will need to check your own system for its response. Continue to stay away from sugared drinks. How to tell if you are dehydrated: Blood pressure can increase. Airways can become restricted making asthma and allergies worse. Kidneys can become damaged and develop kidney stones. Fatigue, feeling cranky or moody, headaches and decreased athletic performance can all be tied to dehydration. Muscle pain and muscle spasms can occur when you are dehydrated. Check your urine color and output: if you are urinating every 2 to 4 hours, the output is light-colored, and there is significant volume, then you’re probably well-hydrated. (per Nancy Clark, MS, RD, sports dietitian and author, quoted in Jennifer Soong’s article in WebMD “What Counts as Water? Stay Hydrated and Healthy” 2011.) More good news: Soups, smoothies, yogurt and oatmeal all count as hydrating foodchoices.Fruitsarealsoexcellentsourcesofwater,especially watermelon, oranges, grapefruit, and other melons. Vegetables such as celery, lettuces, cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes also provide water as well as nutrients. Using coconut water or unsweetened almond milk for smoothies and on cereal also adds to the nutrient-rich hydration sources.
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