What you drink is just as important as what you eat when it comes to your heart health.
Many adults struggle to consume enough fluids daily. A study using NHANES data found older adults on average consume about four, 8-ounce glasses (32 fluid ounces) of water daily. The Institute of Medicine recommends approximately 91 ounces daily for women and 125 ounces daily for men. Exact fluid needs vary between individuals. Keep in mind these values, 91 and 125 ounces, account for ALL fluid intake throughout the day, not water alone. Fluid needs increase with exercise and hot climates.
Water is the most essential nutrient
Water is needed for every cell in the human body to function properly. The body is comprised of 50% to 75% water. Water regulates body temperature, cushions and protects our joints and organs, aids in digestion, forms the basis of blood, and is contained in lean muscle, fat, and bone.
The body cannot store water. You need to replenish water constantly to make up for losses from the skin, urine, feces, and lungs.
Dehydration is a serious concern, especially in the heart of summer. Mild symptoms of dehydration may include tiredness, dizziness, headache, and decreased urine/sweat. Severe complications of dehydration include seizures, kidney failure, brain swelling, and even death.
While all fluids can prevent dehydration, focus on increasing water intake to optimize health.
Keep in mind alcoholic and caffeinated beverages, such as coffee, tea, and cola, are not ideal for promoting hydration.
5 Tips to Increase Your Water Intake
- Keep a pitcher of water in your refrigerator so a cold drink is readily accessible.
- Add fresh lemons, limes, or cucumber to water for natural flavor.
- Dilute fruit juice to increase water intake.
- Select calorie-free flavored water.
- Keep a bottle of water with you at all times. Sip frequently throughout the day.
Do not think being physically active means you need to consume a sports drink to replenish electrolytes. That is only a concern if you are working out intensely for more than one hour. Keep water handy to replenish fluid loss while working out.
Many individuals consume 20% of their total daily energy intake from beverages. Did you know half of all children and adults drink a minimum of one sugar-sweetened beverage every day?
You can reduce your calorie intake by 50,000 calories per year if you replace a single 12-ounce, 140-calorie can of sugar-sweetened beverage with water every day for one year.
Opting to drink a glass or bottle of water in place of a bottle of soda is a positive step towards improving your diet and reducing disease risk.
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