There’s a lot of info out there about hydration — some fact, some fiction. We thought we’d give you the facts on why it’s so important to stay hydrated… and how to do it!
Why stay hydrated? Our bodies lose water each day through normal functions, like sweating, breathing, sneezing, and elimination. Every single process in your body works better when you’re hydrated — including digestion and even metabolism. We don’t usually think about all the benefits of staying hydrated, like keeping our eyes, nasal membranes, and throats moist and functioning properly; and regulating our body temperature — but they’re all so important!
How much should I drink? Each day, we need around 2.7 liters (11 cups) of total water intake each day, according to the Institute of Medicine. But, the foods you eat provide around 20% of that water — which leaves around 9 cups of water that need to be obtained from things like water, tea, coffee, calcium fortified orange juice, and nonfat milk/ calcium fortified soy milk. For most people, we recommend starting out with 6 to 8, 8-ounce glasses of water a day and then adjusting from there based on your personal needs. It’s easier than it seems, since most glasses hold 16 ounces and most water bottles are 16 ounces or more! For instance, to get your 8, 8-ounce glasses per day, you’d only need to finish 4, 16-ounce water bottles throughout the day.
Many factors increase the amount of fluid you need each day, including living in a hot, dry climate and being physically active. If you exercise, aim to add 4-8 ounces of fluid every 20 minutes of exercise (for really intense exercise, sometimes slightly more). Also, as we get older, our bodies are less sensitive to being able to alert us when we’re becoming dehydrated so it’s even more important to drink fluids all throughout the day rather than waiting until you feel thirsty.
How will I know if I’m hydrated? Let thirst be a guide, but don’t rely on it as your sole hydration gauge. The best hydration indicator is to check the color, frequency, and quantity of your urine. You should urinate every 2-4 hours and it should look like pale lemonade (if it looks like apple juice…drink more water!)
What should I drink? Water should be your beverage of choice — it’s a terrific hydrator and it doesn’t contain any calories or additives. However, aside from water, things like coffee, tea, orange juice, and milk all count towards your total fluid intake for the day — believe it or not, you even get some of your water intake from eating juicy foods like fruits and veggies, throughout the day.
We recommend sticking with water most often, but jazzing it up with fun flavors like these:
– cucumber slices + lime wedge
– frozen orange slices
– frozen strawberries
– a splash of juice
– sliced fennel + sprig of rosemary
– lemon slice + fresh mint
For more articles about healthy eating, visit our BeeWell for Life BeeDelicious