By Steve Rapoport, Director, Fresh2o
With the warm weather approaching, it is imperative to stay hydrated. The dog days of summer have hit with temps 100 degrees and higher! Not only is this unpleasant, it can be dangerous. Our body’s fluid requirement increases as the temperature rises and being dehydrated can have serious effects on your health. Check out my tips on how to keep yourself hydrated and learn which foods/beverages hydrate you.
Functions of fluid in the body
Our body is made up of 55 – 60% water. Water is essential for life and plays vital role in the body, including regulation of metabolism and body temperature. Every day we lose about 2 1/2 liters of water through breathing, perspiration, urine and bowel movements. And when you are outside in the heat, you lose even more. For our bodies to function properly, we need to replenish these fluid losses by consuming beverages and foods that contain water.
Who is at risk for dehydration?
Everyone who goes outside in the heat is at risk of dehydration, but those people who work or exercise outdoors, children, the elderly, and anyone who has the pre-existing conditions – such as respiratory or cardiovascular related conditions, or diabetes – has a greater risk.
Symptoms of dehydration
Symptoms of dehydration range from mild to life threatening. How many times have you had a headache, a dry mouth, felt weak or haven’t urinated in hours? It’s possible that you were dehydrated. Other symptoms include constipation, dry eyes, muscle cramps, decreased sweating, and nausea. While not a symptom, dehydration can increase risk of kidney stones. More serious symptoms include mental confusion, vomiting, racing pulse, difficulty breathing, seizures, etc. At this point, medical attention is needed immediately.
How much fluid do you need a day? The recommendation used to be that we consume 64 oz of water a day. However, newer research led to updated recommendations by the Institute of Medicine:
– adequate intake for men is ~ 3 liters (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day
– adequate intake for women is ~ 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of total beverages a day.
It has also been shown that we can meet up to 25% of our fluid needs from watery foods, such as tomatoes, lettuce, watermelon and oranges.
*Keep in mind that your fluid needs will be higher if you work or exercise in the heat!
Tips to increase your fluid intake in the hot weather
*While I strongly discourage drinking soda, both regular or diet (for many reasons!), it does contain fluid and therefore will hydrate you. But try to get more of your fluid intake from water …
* But keep in mind that sports drinks and juices tend to contain large amounts of sugar – not a good thing for most of us …
* While caffeinated beverages can provide fluid, I don’t recommend consuming large amounts of caffeine (and some people shouldn’t consume any).
Be safe and drink up!
This guest post was originally published in HawsCo.com Blog by Samantha Hoch.