The Importance of Water
Aug 9, 2021
This post comes to you by way of Balanced Habits, our nutrition program. This was written by their Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Sara Colman Carlson, RDN, CDE.
Staying hydrated is automatic for most of us. That’s because our thirst mechanism stimulates thirst and drives us to drink when our bodies need more water. This mechanism decreases with age, making dehydration more likely in older people. Extra activity as well as summer heat increase our need for fluids.
So how do you know if you are well-hydrated? Some of the ways to assess hydration include changes in body weight, recording fluid intake and output, and appearance of the skin, eyes and lips. Although you may not think “water” when discussing nutrition, it is the most important of all nutrients. Our bodies are around 60% water. Unlike going without food, we would not last long without water. And it plays some pretty important roles in our health and well-being, such as:
• Temperature regulation
• Joint lubrication
• Nutrient transportation
• Waste removal
• Support cell shape and structure
Daily Water Intake
You may have heard the daily goal for water intake is 64 ounces or 2 liters. And that’s about right. Try this formula to estimate your own water needs. Divide your body weight in pounds in half to get the number of ounces/day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds your estimated water goal is 75 ounces a day.
Another method based on body weight is 30 to 35 mL of water per kg body weight. For a person weighing 68 kg the water goal is 2040 to 2380 mL per day.
Yet a third method is to include 1 mL of fluid for each calorie consumed. So if you eat 2000 calories a day your fluid goal is 2 liters or 67 ounces.
Certain conditions, such as heat, increased activity, fever, injury and illness increase the amount of water your body losses, increasing fluid needs. If you are increasing your activity level most likely you are also reaching for a water bottle before, during and after a workout. This helps replace fluid lost due to faster breathing and sweat.
In addition to water, other fluids such as juice and tea, or anything liquid at room temperature such as sorbet or gelatin count as fluids. Fruits and vegetables also contribute to our fluid intake.
Plain water is at the top of the list of best fluid sources. However not everyone likes plain water. Here are some homemade additions to infuse into your water to enhance the flavor.
• Cucumber and lemon slices
• Watermelon cubes and rosemary sprigs
• Strawberries and mint
• Apple slices and cinnamon sticks
• Lime slices and raspberries