With summer upon us here in Florida, it’s even more important to consider our fluid intake. Our body is made up of around 2/3 water! Because of that, water is important for so many reasons, including:
- helping our body use food for fuel
- protecting our organs
- keeping us “regular”
- maintaining body temperature
- assisting with other various bodily functions
The only way to ensure we get sufficient water, is to replenish our body by drinking it. Water and other fluids are essential to keeping us hydrated and ensuring these important functions continue to work optimally.
How much fluid do we need? This can vary depending on a variety of factors. For an average day, a good rule of thumb is to drink half an ounce of water per pound of body weight. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you could aim for 75 ounces of water per day. This is a good estimate, but you could need more fluids if:
- you’re in a hot environment
- you’re very active and sweating
- you’re consuming a lot of sodium
- you’re pregnant/breastfeeding
- you have other medical conditions that require more fluids
One of the best ways to know if you’re consuming adequate fluids is to monitor those signs and symptoms that signal dehydration. You could be dehydrated if:
- your mouth, skin and eyes feel very dry
- you’re extremely thirsty
- you lose 5+ pounds over night
- you feel really fatigued, even with adequate rest
- you aren’t having regular bowel movements
- your urine doesn’t pass the color test
That last one is probably the easiest way to assess your hydration status. If your urine is dark yellow / brown, there’s a good chance you’re dehydrated. What you want to see is a color that is clear to pale yellow. If you do notice that it’s darker, drink up! Try having 8-16 ounces of water and then check the color again later.
While water is the best choice for getting in your fluids, you can also consume non-caffeinated tea and coffee, milk, 100% fruit or vegetable juice, or even diluted sports drinks to reach your fluid intake. Be mindful of these beverage choices, as most are not calorie free and still need to be considered with the other food choices you make that day. You can also spruce up your water by adding some fresh fruit for a bit of flavor or serving it hot instead of cold.
Do you get enough water? How do you do it?