Why is staying hydrated so important?

Your body depends on water for survival, so the importance of staying hydrated is of the utmost importance, even because it can help you improve many health problems directly.

Did you know that water makes up more than half of your body weight? Every cell, tissue, and organ in your body needs water to function properly. For example, the body uses water to maintain its temperature, remove waste, and lubricate the joints . Water is essential for good health and many times the only thing missing to get up from an illness is simply to drink water.

How does my body lose water?

You lose water every day when you go to the bathroom, sweat, and even when you breathe. You will lose water even faster when the weather is very hot, when you exercise, or if you have a fever. Vomiting and diarrhea can also lead to rapid fluid loss. If you don’t replace the water you lose, you can become dehydrated.

How do I know if I am dehydrated?

Don’t wait until you notice dehydration symptoms to act. It can be difficult to recognize when you are dehydrated, especially as you age. Actively prevent dehydration by drinking plenty of water.

Symptoms of dehydration include:

  • Little or no urine, or the urine is darker than usual
  • Dry mouth
  • Drowsiness or fatigue
  • but the bottoms
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • There are no tears when you cry

How much water should I drink each day?

There are different recommendations for drinking water each day and staying hydrated . Most people have been told to drink 6 to 8 8-ounce glasses of water a day, which is a reasonable goal. However, different people need different amounts of water to stay hydrated. Most healthy people can stay hydrated with water and other fluids that they drink whenever they feel thirsty . For some people, less than 8 glasses may be enough. Other people may need more than 8 glasses a day.

Some people are at higher risk for dehydration, including those who exercise a lot, have certain medical conditions, are ill, or are not able to get enough fluids throughout the day. Older adults are also at higher risk. As you age, the brain may be unable to detect dehydration and send thirst signals.

If you’re concerned that you may not be drinking enough water, check his urine. If your urine is consistently colorless or light yellow, chances are you’re well hydrated.

You may need to increase the amount of water you drink if:

  • You have certain medical conditions, such as kidney stones or bladder infection
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • You’re going to be outside during hot weather
  • You will be exercising
  • You have a fever, have been vomiting, or have diarrhea
  • You are trying to lose weight

How to stay hydrated with more than water

Water is the best option to stay hydrated . There are other beverages and foods that can help provide the water you need, but some can add additional calories from sugar to your diet.

Drinks like fruit and vegetable juices, milk, and herbal teas can contribute to the amount of water you should get each day. Even caffeinated beverages, such as coffee, tea, and soda, count toward your daily water intake – up to a point. But it’s best to limit these as caffeine can cause some people to urinate more often, or feel anxious or nervous. A moderate amount of caffeine, of, is not harmful for most people.

Water can also be found in fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon, tomatoes, and lettuce, and in soup broths.

What about sports drinks?

For most people, water is all that is needed to maintain good hydration. However, if you are planning to exercise at a high intensity for more than an hour, a sports drink may be helpful, as it contains carbohydrates that can prevent hypoglycemia. A sports drink can also help replenish electrolytes if you have a fever, have been vomiting, or have had diarrhea.

However, you have to know that sports drinks are not very healthy, since they usually contain high amounts of sugar and can contain high levels of sodium. Use homemade sports drinks , they do not contain the amount of sugar that commercial sports drinks have, or other ingredients that do not benefit health.

Sports drinks are not the same as energy drinks. Energy drinks usually contain large amounts of caffeine and other stimulants (for example, guarana or taurine) that your body does not need. Most of these drinks are also high in sugar. Many experts recommend not drinking energy drinks as they are very harmful to health.

Tips for staying hydrated

  1. Keep a bottle of water with you during the day. Consider bringing a reusable water bottle and filling it with filter water instead of buying bottled water, which is expensive and generates plastic waste.
  2. If plain water doesn’t interest you, try adding a lemon wedge or pieces of any fruit to your drink.
  3. If you are going to be exercising, be sure to drink water before, during, and after your workout.
  4. Start and end the day with a glass of water.
  5. When you feel hungry, drink water. The feeling of thirst is often confused with hunger. True hunger will not be satisfied by water. Water can also contribute to a healthy weight loss plan, as some research suggests that water will help you feel full.
  6. Drink at a specific time if you have trouble remembering to drink water. For example, drink water when you wake up; at breakfast, lunch and dinner; and when you go to bed. Or drink a small glass of water at the beginning of every hour.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses. He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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