Hydrate for Good Health

B.S. Dietetics, Dietitian, Health Professional

Of all of the changes we have discussed during the past few months, one of the most important is hydration.

Water helps to flush toxins from the body, regulate body temperature, cushion joints and protect your tissues.  When your body does not have adequate hydration, it cannot work in the most efficient manner.  Water is the best way to meet these hydration requirements.

The easiest way to determine how much water you need is to divide your weight in half.  That will be the total number of ounces of water you should be consuming in one day.  For example, someone weighing 120 pounds would need about 60 ounces of water per day.  You can also use a hydration calculator that will take into account added variables, like diarrhea.

For some people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), keeping hydrated can be difficult.  Diarrhea from IBD side effects can exacerbate dehydration.  When you aren't feeling well, it can also be hard to drink enough liquids to meet the requirements for your body.  This can quickly turn into a spiral that ends with having to be rehydrated through IV fluids.

Here are a few quick tips to staying hydrated:

1. Carry a water bottle with you so you can take sips throughout the day.

2. Don't overdo the caffeinated beverages because they can further dehydrate you.

3. Don't overdo it with alcohol, because it is also a dehydrator.  (If you do imbibe, aim to replenish any losses by drinking a glass of water for each alcoholic beverage consumed).

4.  Add water-filled foods (like J-ello, popsicles, soups, watermelon, oranges, cucumbers, etc.) to your diet.  This is especially important when you aren't up for drinking a lot.

Sometimes you just can't keep up with hydration needs.  If you are having increased thirst, not making tears, low urine output or dark colored urine and a sticky, dry mouth, you are likely dehydrated.  At that point, you need to be evaluated by a physician to determine if you need IV fluids or if it can be managed at home.

Hydration is important, so take it seriously