Like protein, fats and carbohydrates, water is also a nutrient. Unlike them, however, water is the most easily overlooked. Striving to ensure an adequate hydration status is an essential year-round, especially with the weather warming up.
Learn more about how much fluid you need to stay healthy and how to ensure that you stay properly hydrated each day.
Why Stay Hydrated?
By weight, more than half of the average human body is composed of water. Inevitably, most of one’s primary bodily functions are significantly dependent on hydration levels.
Fluids are essential to supporting the movement of nutrients and waste throughout the body, regulating blood pressure, cushioning joints and organs, as well as controlling body temperature. In warmer weather, fluids are also vital in reducing the risks of dehydration and heat stroke.
How Much Is Enough?
One’s fluid requirements depend on a variety of factors including age, gender and levels of physical activity. Climate is also an essential factor because like physical activity, it increases perspiration and the loss of water through the skin.
On average, women should aim for about 7-9 cups per day while males should aim for 10-12 cups. One cup is equivalent to 250ml.
Contrary to popular belief, it is not necessary to drink precisely eight glasses of water per day; however, water is the recommended fluid of choice and should account for the majority of one’s overall fluid intake. Milk, coffee, tea and juice are also plausible sources of hydration but should be enjoyed in moderation because of their added calories, sugars and caffeine content. Broth-based soups also contribute to one’s fluid intake.
6 Tips To Help Meet Your Fluid Needs
- Keep water conveniently nearby wherever you are, whether it be home, at work, at school or out and about.
- Invest in a reusable water bottle. When at school or work, make an effort to finish the contents and take regular walking breaks to nearby fountains to refill throughout the day.
- Keep a pitcher of infused ice water in your refrigerator. Popular choices include citrus fruit, fresh mint, ginger and cucumber.
- Sip on a cup of water with each snack or meal. If you eat regularly throughout the day, this tip is likely to be most effective in meeting the bulk of your fluid requirements (i.e. three meals plus three snacks per day x 1 cup per sitting = 6 cups per day)
- Regularly enjoy a variety of other fluids such as milk, 100% vegetable or fruit juices, coffee, tea and broth-based soups.
- Remember to drink more when in warmer climates or when partaking in physical activity.
To ensure that you are staying adequately hydrated, choose to drink water often. Make water convenient in your immediate surroundings and at meal times. Keep in mind that other fluids also count towards your daily fluid intake, and regularly incorporating a variety of them will help to meet your fluid needs as well.
What tips and tricks do you use to stay hydrated?