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How Much Water Should You Drink Each Day? We Have the Answer.

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How Much Water Should You Drink Each Day? We Have the Answer.

We hear it all the time. “Be sure you get enough water and stay hydrated.” Why is hydration important? Studies show that drinking water can be an effective weight loss strategy. And, according to the American Heart Association, keeping the body hydrated helps the heart more easily pump blood and facilitates the removal of waste so that muscles can work efficiently. It helps lubricate joints and maintain body temperature so it is especially important when exercising or in hot environments when you lose fluid.  Dehydration can lead to serious health problems from swollen feet or headaches to life threatening illnesses such as heat stroke.

How much fluid do we really need? The Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences recommends that adults consume about 13 cups (three liters) for men and nine cups (2.2 liters) for women in total beverages, including drinking water. That might sound like a daunting amount but you can count fruits, vegetables and other high water content foods toward this total. Those who work out or perspire heavily will need to drink more than those who do not. If you exercise, drink water before, during and after your workout. Thirst is not always the best indicator that you need to rehydrate. Keep beverages within reach and sip on them throughout the day. If you have trouble remembering to hydrate, consider drinking on a schedule. For example, drink a glass of water when you wake up, with meals and before bed. You might also try to drink a small glass at the top of every hour throughout the day or keep a water bottle handy so you remember.

Water, water everywhere, but what else can I drink to stay hydrated? Water is by far the best fluid source for hydration, but we also get fluid from juice, milk, coffee, tea and broth based soups. Sports drinks and “energy” drinks are often loaded with sugar and extra calories that can add up quickly, so check the label! Look for beverages with no added sugar, cane syrup or high fructose corn syrup, etc. Coffee, tea and soft drinks with caffeine can have a diuretic (dehydrating) effect and should be consumed in moderation. Consider making your own quick healthy fruit and herbal infused beverages. Here are some other smart choices for hydration:

  • Spa water—fill a pitcher with filtered water and infuse with cucumber or orange slices
  • Sparkling water—Pellegrino©, La Croix© (available in a variety of flavors)
  • Flavor drops and powders—many brands and varieties are available: Mio©, Skinny Girl© and True Citrus©
  • Herbal and green iced tea (decaffeinated)

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Article provided by Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services.