Drink to Good Health
Author: be well™ with Big Y® Registered Dietitian Team
Staying hydrated makes your skin glow and your eyes sparkle, and helps you feel full of energy. Even the slightest dip in hydration can cause simple discomforts like dry skin, dry mouth, thirst and fatigue. More severe symptoms of dehydration are light-headedness, dizziness, confusion, increased breathing and heart rate, and possibly even heat stroke.
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Carrie Taylor discusses one of the top behaviors you can have for self-care: Staying Hydrated!
On average, we lose between 5 and 15 cups of water each day passively by way of breathing, sweating and digesting.¹ Add exercise, hot temperatures and high humidity—and our body's thermostat goes into overdrive, causing an increased need for water.
You may have heard the recommendation to drink up to 8 eight-ounce glasses of water each day to meet your daily water needs. The general daily recommendation from the Institute of Medicine is about 11 eight-ounce glasses total water for women and 15 eight-ounce glasses total water for men.² The term total water means the amount we receive from all beverages and food, not just drinking water alone.
According to the Institute of Medicine, the majority of healthy individuals already meet their hydration needs through food and beverages simply by letting thirst be their guide. So, if you're not drinking your way to 11 to 15 eight-ounce glasses of total water each day, don't worry! Drink as much as your thirst indicates.
Stay cool and collected during the summer months and:
Carry a water bottle with you at all times. Want flavor? Infuse water with fruits and herbs like lemon and mint.
Keep full water bottles in the refrigerator—cool water tends to make us feel cooler.
Enjoy frozen juice bars or other low-calorie frozen treats.
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables—they're full of water!
Exercise during the coolest times of the day.
Start hydrated: Two to four hours prior to working out, drink 1 to 3 cups fluid. This is a general guide, as hydration needs are dependent on weight.³
Replenish: Drink 1½ to 3 cups fluid every hour of your workout or hike. This is a general guide, as hydration needs are dependent on weight.³
¹ Benelam, B. and Wyness, L. Hydration and Health: A review. Nutrition Bulletin. Volume 35 Issue 2: 191-191. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-3010.2009.01795.x.
² Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate. Institute of Medicine Panel on Dietary Reference Intakes for Electrolytes and Water, Standing Committee on the Scientific Evaluation of Dietary Reference Intakes Washington, D.C. National Academies Press 2005.
³ Thomas DT, Erdman KA, Burke LM. Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine: Nutrition and Athletic Performance. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2016 Mar;116(3):501-528. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2015.12.006. Erratum in: J Acad Nutr Diet. 2017 Jan;117(1):146. PMID: 26920240.