Ask the Health Coach - Hydration
Question: I have noticed that I do not drink enough water throughout the day. I really do not have the time and most times I forget to bring bottled water. I think that two glasses of water per day does the trick for me. Everyone tells me I need to drink more water to stay hydrated, but honestly I don’t know what is the big deal? Should I be drinking more water? Could you give me some information on my body’s need for water?
Answer: The truth is that water is constantly taken for granted as most people do not realize our body’s great need for water. Most of us do not meet the daily recommended water intake and dehydrate more often than we realize. Water is our body’s principal chemical component and makes up about 60 percent of our body weight. Every system in our body depends on water.
The human body depends on water for the following functions:
• Maintains blood volume.
• Carries nutrients and waste products throughout the body.
• Helps regulate body temperature.
• Acts as lubricant and cushion around joints and inside the eyes, the spinal cord, and in pregnancy, the amniotic sac surrounding the fetus in the womb.
• Protects the nervous system.
How much water do we need?
The need for water varies depending on gender, age and whether or not you exercise regularly. So how much fluid does the average, healthy adult living in a temperate climate need? The Institute of Medicine determined that an adequate intake (AI) for men is roughly 3 liters (about 13 cups) of total water a day, and for women, is 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of total water a day. The body loses water every day and therefore it needs to be hydrated properly. Limit the sugary drinks and sodas. Caffeinated drinks are not recommended either, as they make the body urinate more often than needed. People who exercise regularly need to drink more water, as their body needs to restore the water lost in perspiration during physical activity. Other ways to get more water are by eating fruits, vegetables and soups as they contain water.
The signs and symptoms of dehydration range from minor to severe and include:
• Increased thirst
• Dry mouth and swollen tongue
• Palpitations (feeling that the heart is jumping or pounding)
• Inability to sweat
• Decreased urine output
• Urine color may indicate dehydration. If urine is concentrated and deeply yellow or amber, you may be dehydrated.
Ask a Health Coach questions and answers are compiled by Health Designs.