We all know what a houseplant that has not been watered looked like – wilted and droopy. It perks right back up with just a little water. Water is just as important for the human body but especially in hot weather. Even mild dehydration can zap energy. Fatigue, lethargy, headaches, inability to focus, dizziness and lack of strength are all possible signs of dehydration.
How much water does an individual need? According to the Institute of Medicine, an adequate intake (AI) for men is roughly about 13 cups (3 liters) of total beverages a day. The AI for women is about 9 cups (2.2 liters). Another basic rule of thumb, especially for those who are overweight, is simply to divide body weight in half to determine the number of ounces of water needed. For example, a person who weighs 200 pounds would have a fluid requirement of about 100 ounces.
A simple way to tell if you are dehydrated is to check the color of your urine. If your urine is not clear but has a yellow color to it, you are in need of more water. After drinking an adequate amount of water, you should notice less color in the urine.
Here are some simple tips to stay well hydrated:
- Stick to a schedule. Come up with a routine for getting in water. An example would be to always have a glass of water upon getting up in the morning and always a glass before each meal.
- Take your H2O to go. Purchase a quality water bottle and use it!
- Add some fizz. Make a low calorie spritzer by using seltzer water or club soda with a small amount of juice or calorie free flavoring.
- Boost the flavor. Simply add fruit, vegetables, herbs, or spices to a pitcher of water. There are handy pitchers with infusers that will keep the flavoring ingredients from pouring out with the water.
- Have a tea party. There are many good quality flavored teas on the market that make excellent hot and iced tea.
- Start with soup. A broth based soup before a meal helps with water intake and can also help with limiting calories at that meal.
- Include salad or veggies with a meal. Vegetables and salad greens have a high water content.
Fran Matteson, MS,RD