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H20 - Part 2

From Shelby Moose, Crossing Rivers Health Registered Dietitian

Water is such a broad topic to discuss that it wasn't possible to talk about all of the benefits in one blog post, so here we go again. :)

Health benefits of water

Water is your body's principal chemical component and makes up about 60% of your body weight. Every system in your body depends on water. For example, water flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells, and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues.

Lack of water can lead to dehydration, a condition that occurs when you don't have enough water in your body to carry out normal functions. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired.

Fun Fact: How long can we last without water?

3-5 days, you need water or you'll perish. You can make it 3 weeks without food, though we promise you that won't be fun.

Beyond the tap: Other sources of water

You don't need to rely only on what you drink to meet your fluid needs. What you eat also provides a significant portion of your fluid needs. On average, food provides about 20 percent of total water intake. For example, many fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon and spinach, are 90 percent or more water by weight.

In addition, beverages such as milk and juice are composed mostly of water. Even beer, wine and caffeinated beverages — such as coffee, tea or soda — can contribute, but these should not be a major portion of your daily total fluid intake. Water is still your best bet because it's calorie-free, inexpensive and readily available.

Staying hydrated

Generally, if you drink enough fluid so that you rarely feel thirsty and your urine is colorless or light yellow — and measures about 6.3 cups (1.5 liters) or more a day if you were to keep track — your fluid intake is probably adequate. Another way to determine how hydrated you are is by looking at your stools. If your bowels are hard and pebbles-like then chances are you are not drinking enough water. Water is absorbed in the large intestines…..aka the last stop before you have to go to the restroom. If you are hydrated, your body won't need to absorb all the water and some will remain with the bowels, if you are not hydrated then your body needs that water, leaving behind hard stools. The lack of water also makes passing stools difficult to do and may take longer to have a bowel movement.

To ward off dehydration and make sure your body has the fluids it needs, make water your beverage of choice. It's also a good idea to:

  • Drink a glass of water with each meal and between each meal
  • Drink water before, during and after exercise

If you are interested in making an appointment with Shelby, ask your primary care provider for a referral.