Our last “Age Friendly” series post looked at sodium and how much is too much in our daily lives. That also includes making sure you get enough water, which we’ll talk about in this post.
You probably know that if you don’t drink enough fluid, you are at a greater risk of dehydration. But, did you know that your sense of thirst might diminish as you age?
Chances are, if you are not feeling thirsty, you might not be thinking about drinking that glass of water. But, fluids are your body’s natural cooling system. The average adult loses about 2 1/2 quarts or more of water each day by urinating, perspiring, breathing, and eliminating other body wastes, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics., an organization of credentialed nutrition and dietetics practitioners. That’s about 10 or more cups of water daily.
Other factors play a role in how much water you lose each day: your physical activity level, the air temperature, whether you are indoors or outdoors, medication, gender and more.
To avoid dehydration, you need to replace these fluids. In general, you should aim at drinking about 9 to 13 cups daily from beverages like water, 100% fruit juice, low-fat milk, tea, and coffee.
Also, about 20 percent of a person’s fluid intake comes from foods they eat. Foods high in water content can help you hydrate: soups, fresh fruits, vegetables, salads, and more.
Taking sips of water throughout the day and drinking water, milk, or juice between bites during meals also can help you hydrate. If you are going to be away from your house for several hours, take a container of water with you. If you are outside taking a walk, gardening, or getting ready to exercise, hydrate yourself often. Having a glass of water is a great addition to your daily routine.
A note of caution. Many of the beverages we enjoy can be a part of a healthy eating pattern, but we need to watch out for beverages that add extra calories without adding any nutritional value. Drinking tea or coffee barely adds calories unless you start adding sugar and creams. Use caution when ordering beverages from coffee shops, because they can have added sugars and fats. Soda, energy drinks, sports drinks or even sweetened water can contribute to our fluid intake needs, but they also can contain added sugars and offer no nutritional benefits. Remember you can enjoy these drinks—along with the occasional alcoholic beverage—but do so in moderation.
For more information on healthy eating and hydration, consider taking one of our “Age Friendly: Healthy Eating and Hydration” classes.
Next up: what’s a healthy weight.