It's Hot Out There! 5 Reasons to Drink Up Today and Every Day!

This weekend is going to be a hot one for most of us! You're going to hear from a lot of people to drink more water. But, do you know why? How much? Or, do you need a little extra incentive to drink water?

A funny thing often happens when I remind people to drink water, my words are often met with the same enthusiasm a 4-year old has when you tell them it's time for bed. Even though we know we need it, many of us still struggle to do it.

Why is water important? Our bodies are about 60% water so water is essential to keeping our bodies running smoothly and our muscles strong and healthy. Our bodies also need water to flush out toxins. Even, our eyes need it to stay lubricated.

Wet your Whistle with These 5 Wonderful Water Facts!

1. Sometimes when we think we're hungry, we're actually thirsty. Yup for some reason, our body sometimes has trouble sending us the right signal. The next time you're wondering why you're hungry, try having a glass of water and see if the hunger goes away. Another fact to consider is that as we get older our ability to sense thirst decreases.

2. We can actually begin to feel the effects of dehydration when we are as little as 2 % dehydrated. Some symptoms of dehydration include fatigue, high blood pressure, dizziness and even crankiness. So the next time you're tired, try drinking a glass of water.

3. Drinking water may help control your weight. A study published in February's
Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics looked at 18,311 U.S. adults, researchers found that people who consumed just 1 - 3 more cups of plain water per day consumed less sugar, salt and saturated fat than those who consumed less water. Another study from the Annals of Family Medicine looked at the relationship of hydration and BMI for nearly 10,000 people.They found that people who were adequately hydrated had lower BMIs than those who were not adequately hydrated. The take home message is that water appears to be associated with improved nutrition and a better waistline.

4. You can eat water too. You read that correctly. Yes, you don't have to just drink water. You can also consume water in fruits and vegetables like apples, peaches, celery, plums, lettuce, tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers and melon. In fact, watermelon is about 92% water and cucumbers weigh in at about 96% water.

5. Caffeinated coffee and tea count towards your fluid intake each day. For a long time, we thought the diuretic effect of caffeinated drinks offset their hydrating effects but like so much in nutrition, we now know more and know that these drinks can count towards your fluid intake. I still wouldn't recommend these as your primary sources of hydration though.

So how do we know if we're getting enough water?

The simplest way is the urine test (stop reading this paragraph if you're eating). If your urine is light in color, is every 2 -4 hours and there is a good amount, you're probably adequately hydrated. A more precise recommendation from the Institute of Medicine is the following:

  • For women, consume 9 cups of fluid. A minimum of 4.5 cups of this should be water.
  • For men, consume 13 cups of water.  Approximately, 6.5 cups of this should be water.

Remember, if you're in an area of the country experiencing a heat wave, the heat will increase your fluid needs.

If you are out in the heat, a great way to make sure you're replenishing appropriately is to weigh yourself. If you've lost weight in a short amount of time, you probably lost fluid and it needs to be replaced. In this situation, a 1 lb weight loss is approximately the equivalent of 2 cups of fluid.
If you want to increase your fluid intake but really don't love plain water, try adding lemon, lime, cucumber, mint or berries to your water. Or, try sparkling water for some variety. They're all delicious!

That's all for today! Stay cool this weekend and have some fun!