Hydration, hydration, hydration!

This hot weather has got me thinking a lot about hydration. And, of course, there’s that water shortage to consider. So what are the facts about getting adequate fluids?

Water is essential and plays a critical role in many bodily functions, including the transport of nutrients, digestion, waste removal, maintaining blood pressure and regulating body temperature. Dehydration can contribute to constipation, fatigue, reduced mental activity (I get headaches) and places a stress on the cardiovascular system. Even inflammation in the body is exacerbated by dehydration, which might increase the risk of damage.

How much do you need? Well, it depends on your physical activity level, size, humidity, and even ambient temperatures. So on these hot days, following the National Academy of Science recommendations is an optimal goal. Adequate intake for men is 13 cups per day and for women, 9-10 cups per day (more if lactating or pregnant). But individual differences trump averages, so if you’re thirsty or exercising, drink more and it’s advantageous to set a baseline for yourself.

What to drink? Water is the best choice for hydration, along with unsweetened tea or coffee. Milk is also a great thirst quenching beverage. Remember, our sense of thirst is not that sensitive, so develop the habit and set reminders for yourself to drink up!