Hydrate for Health: How Much Fluid Do You Really Need?
Your body contains approximately 60% water, with every cell in the body dependent on it. Water is needed to: transport essential nutrients, cushion joints and organs, maintain body temperature and electrolyte balance, and eliminate waste. During the hot summer months water is even more important since water cools the body through sweating. With all of these vital roles, your daily fluid intake has a major impact on your health.
How Much Fluid Is Needed?
Each day water is lost through respiration, perspiration and elimination. Inadequate water leads to dehydration and impaired body functions. Mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you feel tired, lead to balance problems, constipation, urinary tract infection, kidney failure and slower wound healing.
Adequate fluid intake is about 13 cups (100 oz.) for men and 9 cups (74 oz.) for women. More fluid may be needed due to:
According to the Institute of Medicine, about 80% of total water comes from beverages and 20% from food. Cantaloupe, tomatoes and strawberries are a good source of fluid, over 90% water.
Fluids may need to be restricted due to heart, kidney or liver disease; check with your physician.
TO MAINTAIN FLUID BALANCE
Warning Signs of Dehydration
Do not wait to be thirsty, since thirst recognition declines with age.
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