The Texas heat is well on its way so it’s that much more important to stay hydrated. Water is crucial to physical health and makes up about 60% of body weight in adults and more in children. Body water balance is key for maintenance of body temperature, blood volume, and several metabolic processes.
Most fluid recommendations suggest >3 liters per day for men and >2 liters per day for women. Other factors requiring additional fluid intake include:
- Increased activity level
- Increased sweat level
- Living in a hot and humid environment
- Living in high altitude
While water is the most plain and obvious hydration source, other foods and beverages also contain significant amounts of water to contribute to overall hydration. Many fruits and vegetables contain 70-90% water. Some of the best sources of water in food include:
- Watermelon (a summer favorite)
Even many meats and cheeses contain more than 50% water. While water is typically the best choice, other beverages including skim milk and fruit juice are >90% water. Caffeinated beverages – tea, coffee, sodas and the like will also contribute to total fluid intake, but can contribute significantly to caloric intake. If you have a hard time drinking plain water, look for low calorie beverages to help you meet your fluid goals. Try water with lemon or lime juice, unsweetened tea or artificially sweetened drinks.
Without adequate fluid intake, there is risk of dehydration. The first sign of dehydration is thirst. But don’t wait until you’re thirsty to start drinking fluids. Thirst means your body isn’t keeping up with fluids adequately and needs replenishment. Other symptoms of dehydration include weakness, dizziness, dry mouth, decreased (and more concentrated) urine output, confusion and sometimes a feeling of a pounding heartbeat.
Some medical diagnoses should be cautious of drinking excess amounts of water. Talk to your physician or dietitian if you have questions about your fluid intake.
Written By: Jenny Kidd, RD, LD