With the hotter weather here, I’d like to focus this month on how to stay hydrated. Water is in every tissue of our body, and since we can’t store it anywhere, we need to be sure to stay hydrated.
Water makes up 60 percent of your total body weight and 70 percent of your muscles. It aids in digestion and elimination of waste products. Water is also a lubricant in such places as the joints and between internal organs. This important fluid also is a major portion of your blood and is responsible for keeping you cool.
Symptoms of dehydration can include lethargy and hunger. Most of us have experienced that annoying dehydration headache; our very brain begging for water. Unfortunately, by the time we feel thirsty, we are already headed down the path to being dehydrated. Getting enough water is vitally important to our health, especially during hot weather or workouts when we are sweating. A good rule of thumb is to drink two cups of water for every pound of weight lost.
So, what do you do if you’re one of those people that don’t like to drink water? I would encourage you to consider trying infused waters to help make the taste more palatable. Adding some sliced berries, lemons, and other fruit to water a few hours before you plan to drink it can give it a pleasant taste. If you haven’t tried cucumbers in your water, you’re missing out on a refreshing drink.
Something else to consider is eating your water. Surprisingly, a fair amount of your water intake can come from your diet, not just your water bottle. On average, we eat about four cups of water a day in our diet.
We’ve all heard the recommendation to drink eight cups of water daily, but did you know we actually need closer to twelve?
Vegetables provide more water than fruit on average. Notable vegetables that are leaders in providing water are cucumbers, lettuce, spinach, broccoli and radishes. I was shocked to learn that cucumbers are 98 percent water, so a heaping cup of them provides your body with one cup of water. Other vegetables with higher water content include tomatoes, cabbage, eggplant, peppers and zucchini.
Fruits that are highest in water content include watermelon and strawberries. They are followed by grapefruit, cantaloupe, peaches, and pineapple.
So, remember, when you’re trying to stay hydrated, consider adding extra fruit and vegetables into your diet. The benefits are amazing!
Mary Koch is a Registered Dietitian at Banner Churchill Community Hospital, VA Lahontan Valley Outpatient Clinic and consultant for Pershing General Hospital. Send your nutrition questions to Mary at firstname.lastname@example.org.