With this year’s unseasonably warm weather, it is particularly important to stay hydrated. Water does more than quench our thirst – our body is made up of 70% water. Water is in each cell, in our organs, and in our tissues. Water is required for “lubricating” many body functions including regulating body temperature, for kidneys to filter waste, helping keep our blood thin, and for dissolving most nutrients. It also maintains skin tone, protects the spinal cord and cushions joints. Just a 5% reduction of fluid in our body can make a difference in how well the body functions.
Will all fluids rehydrate our bodies? No. Caffeinated drinks and alcohol are diuretics – they actually pull water out of our system. Colas, sport and fruit drinks are high in sugar and calories. They sidestep digestion and go directly into the bloodstream, causing blood sugar levels to rise. Although diet sodas have no calories, they can irritate our kidneys. Processed foods have very little moister. However fresh fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, oranges, celery, and melons are 85-95% water and are good additional sources of fluid.
Water is what the body needs. If drinking the recommended 8 eight-ounce glasses of water a day seems daunting, start with having your first glass of water first thing when you wake up in the morning and then throughout the day. Drink before you feel thirsty, as that is a sign of the beginning of dehydration. Drink more water if you are outside in hot weather or doing vigorous exercise. If water has not been your first beverage of choice, try adding lemon or lime to spruce up the taste.