“Water, water everywhere and not any drop to drink”
– The Rime of the Ancient Mariner-
Can you remember being sick as a child and being told to stay hydrated? As it turns out, that’s pretty solid advice. We all know we need to stay hydrated, but what does that really mean? How much water do I need, are sports drinks good, what about morning coffee or tea, afternoon coffee, milk, energy drinks, what if, what if, what if. IT’S OK!!! We will figure this out together. But first, the basics.
Our bodies are made of water. The average adult is about 60% water. Children come in at about 75% and the elderly around 50%. Proper hydration requires a balance in the body between water and electrolytes. You know, the things in Pedialyte and Powerade. Electrolytes are actually minerals that already exist in the body that help the body do what the body does. Without that balance the body starts to shut down. You start to get a headache, feel confused, irritable and sluggish. More severe complications can even lead to internal organ failure, seizures, and more.
“So how do you keep hydrated?” Good question. The liquid we need comes from a variety of sources. A surprisingly large amount comes from food – 60-80%! An orange, for example, is roughly 90% water.
The other 20-40% comes from what we drink. Water is a large part of that, but you might be surprised to learn that your morning coffee also counts. The liquid content of coffee and tea outweighs the diuretic effects. So continue to enjoy you morning coffee as long as you also drink water. Sports drinks also contain water and electrolytes, but a boatload of sugar as well.
“How much water do I need a day?” Roughly 1-2 ounces of water for every pound you weigh is a good mark to shoot for. However, this can be hard to calculate when eating. Fruits and vegetables contain a higher water content than a steak or carbohydrates. An easier guide is paying attention to your trips to the bathroom. Keep in mind that if you are dehydrated your urine will be a deep yellow color – if you are properly hydrated, it will be nearly clear.
To sum things up: Try to eat a balanced diet and drink something throughout the day, preferably water.