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Wondering how to hydrate? It’s about more than drinking water

Wondering how to hydrate? It’s about more than drinking water

A majority of your body is made up of water, but you steadily lose that water through sweat and waste exiting the body. As temperatures soar into the upper 90s during our Louisiana summer, we sweat more—and, as a result, lose more water. That’s why you need to consistently drink fluids to replenish what’s lost. Our Lakeside Hospital team offers some insight on how to hydrate properly.

Why hydration is essential

The body uses water for many different purposes, including regulating body temperature, keeping your joints lubricated and removing waste from the body. When your water intake can’t make up for the water lost, you can become dehydrated.

It isn’t enough to simply drink when you feel thirsty. Thirst can be a sign of dehydration. Other signs of dehydration can include dark-colored urine, a dry mouth, dizziness, fatigue or a headache.

While most people can ease dehydration safely at home by upping their fluid intake, you may need to seek emergency medical attention if you can’t keep liquids down or experience signs of heat stroke or heat exhaustion.

How much water is enough water?

Most of us are getting less than the recommended daily fluid intake. That’s partially because there is confusion about how much water we need. While you may have heard that you should drink eight glasses of water each day, there’s no single amount of fluid per day that works for everyone.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics offers a daily target for adults, provided 20% of the water needed is consumed in food: 9 cups for women and 13 cups for men. Factors such as our activity levels, age and the medications we take can impact how much water we need. Those who regularly exercise will need more fluid, for example, than people who exercise infrequently.

Another strategy—a pee check—might be more helpful for determining whether you’re hydrated. Check your urine color every so often. If you’re hydrated, your urine will typically be pale yellow to clear; anything darker can be an indication you need to drink more.

Ways to get the fluids you need

Want to be sure you’re getting enough water? Consider this your how-to-hydrate strategy:

Take reusable water bottles everywhere. Having a water bottle handy is a good reminder to keep drinking, and it’s fairly easy to find a water fountain or sink for a fill-up. If you don’t like plain water, jazz it up with fruit or mint.

Up your water intake when you’re active. While you should be hydrating throughout the day, increase your intake when you’re exercising or spending time outside in the heat. Aim to drink 8 ounces of water every 15 minutes.

Choose your fluids wisely. Water is an obvious choice, but did you know that cow’s milk naturally contains electrolytes and nutrients that make it an even more effective source of hydration? Sports drinks and other electrolyte-replenishing drinks can also be a helpful source of hydration.

Eat up. A tall glass of water isn’t the only source of hydration—you can also get plenty of water from the foods you eat. Fruits and vegetables with a high-water content include:

  • Apples
  • Berries
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Cantaloupe
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Grapes
  • Oranges
  • Pears
  • Pineapple
  • Squash
  • Watermelon

Head to a local farmers market or grocery store to stock up on seasonal fresh fruit and veggies. Not only will it tantalize your taste buds, but it will also help you stay hydrated!

When you need medical care, our Lakeside Hospital team is here to help. Learn more about our services that are designed to keep you well so that you can get the most out of life.