By Assia Mortensen
Water is calorie-free, inexpensive and readily available. Still, water isn’t your only way to stay hydrated. Many fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon and tomatoes, are mostly water by weight. Milk and juice also are composed mostly of water. According to the Mayo Clinic, when used in moderation, even beer, wine and caffeinated beverages — such as coffee, tea or soda — can contribute to your daily fluid needs.
How Much Water Do You Need?
Your fluid needs depend on many different factors and can vary. These factors include your health, how active you are and the climate where you live. The Institute of Medicine determined that for men, the requirements are roughly 3 liters (about 13 cups) of total beverages per day; for women it is 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of total beverages each day.
Water is crucial to health as it clears toxins from your vital organs and carries nutrients to your cells. Lack of water can lead to dehydration, a condition that occurs when you don’t have enough fluids in your body to carry out normal functions. Even just a mild case of dehydration can drain your energy, advises the Mayo Clinic.
Symptoms of Dehydration:
• Little or no urine, or urine that is darker than usual
• Dry mouth
• Sleepiness or fatigue
• Extreme thirst
• Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
If you are planning on exercising at a high intensity in hot weather, a sports drink may be helpful because it contains carbohydrates that can prevent low blood sugar. A sports drink can also help replace electrolytes if you have a fever, have been vomiting or have had diarrhea. However, choose sports drinks wisely, as they are often high in sugar or salt.
• Keep drinks with you during the day and consider carrying a reusable water bottle.
• To make it more appealing, try adding a slice of lemon or lime to your water.
• If you’re going to be exercising, make sure you drink water before, during and after your workout.
• Water may contribute to a healthy weight loss plan, as some research suggests drinking water will help you feel fuller longer.
• Drink water when you go to a restaurant.
• Start and end your day with a glass of water.
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How Much Water Do You Need; Mayo Clinic; Accessed July 12, 2012
Dehydration; Mayo Clinic; Accessed July 12, 2012
Hydration: Why It’s So Important; Family doctor.org; Accessed July 12, 2012