Staying Healthy and Hydrated
Why is water so important? How do you know if you’re well-hydrated? How many glasses of water are you supposed to drink? Have any of those questions ever crossed your mind? As we enter the warmer months when we move and sweat more, our bodies lose more water to help regulate our internal temperature, and hydration suddenly becomes a “hot topic.” But the reality is that year-round hydration is critical to your health & wellness.
No really, it does. Water holds such important roles in our bodies, it can’t be overstated how vital it is. Our bodies contain 60 percent water and it’s used in lubricating joints and tissues, transporting essential nutrients to our cells, eliminating waste products and toxins out of our bodies and assisting in the digestion and absorption of food. See, it really is vital to your everyday life!
A simple way to assess your hydration status
Pay attention to the color of your urine. If your urine is pale and clear, you’re well-hydrated; if it’s darker (think the color of apple juice), drink more! FYI, the color of your urine is impacted by medicines too—they make it bright yellow.
How much water/fluids do I need?
A common recommendation is to consume half of your body weight in ounces. If you weigh 160 lbs, that’s 80 ounces of fluids daily. We are hydrated by liquids, but also through foods—fruits and veggies contain water, too. Fluid needs are impacted by a variety of factors, such as activity level, age, gender and climate.
Rethink your drink.
When we think of hydration, although many different beverages count towards your fluid intake (seltzer, calorie-free beverages, dairy and non-dairy milks, tea, coffee), water is recommended as the top choice. Why? Because water provides hydration without any added sugars or calories. You get all of the benefits of hydration without any drawbacks. With physical activity of less than an hour (even at a moderate intensity), water is a sufficient replacement of sweat loss.
Added sugars account for a lot of calories in the American diet and they’re considered empty calories. They may be contributing to your waistline without much nutritional benefit. If you swap water or other zero-calorie beverages for sugary drinks, you’re cutting a significant source of both calories and added sugars and may help boost your weight management efforts.
Infused waters are a fun and refreshing way to boost your water intake and keep you well-hydrated. They’re visually appealing, add bursts of flavor and the flavor options are endless. There’s really no ‘recipe’ required—here are the basics.
Infused Water Recipe:
- Grab your favorite pitcher.
- Select any combination of herbs, fruits and veggies (I love cinnamon sticks + sliced apples or lemon+cucumber+mint for example), add to the pitcher.
- Boost the flavor by muddling the ingredients. Fill the pitcher with water.
- Refrigerate and let it infuse for at least an hour to overnight. Then enjoy!
- Refill the pitcher with water to maximize your flavor combinations. The fruits/herbs/veggies can last several days before you switch up your pitcher’s contents.
Hydration is critical for your overall health, wellness and vitality. It’s something to which we all need to pay attention. So now that you’ve got the basics of hydration, help yourself out–go get a nice tall glass of refreshing water.
— Lindsey DeCaro, RDN, LDN
Lindsey is a dietitian, wife, mom and lover of tasty eats! She enjoys cooking nutritious and delicious food in her kitchen and sharing it with anyone she can. Keeping nutrition and wellness approachable, realistic and practical are important to her. You’ll often find her spending time outside, reading, exercising, baking or carpooling her kids around town!