The warm weather is here and it is even more important than ever to stay hydrated. Proper fluid intake is necessary for your bones and overall health.
How much water should I drink? The general guideline has been to drink approximately one-half your body weight in ounces (140 pound person would drink 70 ounces). This one-size fits all approach does not apply to everyone. There are numerous factors that determine how much water you actually need. Fruits and vegetables contain a lot of water. If these are a large part of your diet, you will not need to drink as much. You will require more water during sweating, exercise, in hot temperatures, at high altitude (above 8,200 feet), and when you have fever, diarrhea, or vomiting.
What does being thirsty mean? Some people think they can just wait until they are thirsty to drink. Unfortunately, once your thirst mechanism kicks in, you are already dehydrated. It is best to be proactive and drink throughout the day.
How can I easily get enough water? It is a good idea to start the morning with a glass of water. Keeping a water bottle nearby makes it easy to sip water during the day. This is much better than gulping large amounts at one time. Adding lemon to your water gives you the benefit of improved digestion. I like to put sliced cucumbers as well as various fresh herbs such as mint in my water. Herbal teas can be counted as water. Coconut water is a healthy way to get hydration in addition to added electrolytes. Alcoholic beverages are dehydrating and not recommended. Contrary to what I always thought, the research indicates that coffee drinking in moderation contributes to fluid intake and does not lead to dehydration. Sodas are full of sugar and artificial ingredients and have no place in a healthy diet or as a means of hydration.
Can you drink too much water? Yes, it can result in electrolyte imbalance. Some signs of this problem include nausea, vomiting, headaches, and confusion. This is not a common occurrence. Endurance athletes such as marathon runners are at a higher risk.
How can I tell if I am getting enough water? One way to see how you are doing is to look at your urine. It should be very light yellow. Darker yellow or amber color urine may indicate dehydration. The Cleveland Clinic has a great chart explaining urine colors. Please note that certain food, vitamins and medications can also affect the color of your urine.
So enjoy your water. You will be amazed at how good you can feel when you stay hydrated.