by Lucia Weiler, BSc, RD, PHEc
Water is the most widely consumed beverage in the world.
Staying well hydrated is important to good health because losing as little as 1 to 2% of body weight from fluids can impair physical performance and our ability to think. If you are like most people, about 80% of your total fluid intake comes from drinking water and other beverages.
Beverages also make up an important part of your calorie intake with as much as 20% of daily calories coming from what you drink. If you are watching your calories, satisfy your thirst with water, a calorie free way to quench your thirst!
Your body is made up of nearly two-thirds water, so it is really important that you get enough fluids throughout the day to stay hydrated.
‘Fluid’ includes water and additional drinks that give you water such as tea and other beverages. You also get water from the foods you eat. On an average most people get about 80% of their fluid intake from drinking water and other beverages, and the other 20% from foods.
Get enough fluids to be at your best in these important areas of health and wellness:
Your body loses water when you’re breathing, sweating, and getting rid of waste. If you lose more fluid than you consume, your body can get dehydrated and you may feel tired, get headaches, and not perform at your best.
Did you know that you can become dehydrated even before you feel it? That is why it’s important to drink fluids regularly, even before you feel thirsty.
Your fluid needs are influenced by a number of factors including your age, gender, activity level and the weather! Drink more water in hot and humid weather and when you’re very active.
To keep your body hydrated, aim for a fluid intake of about:
3 L (12 cups) per day for men 19 years and older
2.2 L (9 cups) per day for women 19 years and older.
Remember, fluids include water, tea and other beverages such as milk or juice. Broth or soups also boost your fluid intake.
Drink water regularly. Water is one of the best fluid choices because it’s calorie free and a great way to quench your thirst.
Some people prefer water with some flavor. Try adding a slice of lemon or lime to make water more refreshing. If you prefer switching up some flavors, these additions to water work well: sliced cucumber, mint, frozen berries, sliced grapefruit, watermelon cubes, and sliced ginger root.
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