Drink Up!

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Nice glass of cool waterFew of us think of getting enough liquids, such as water, as a crucial part of a good diet. But the truth is, liquid is one of the most important parts of everyone’s diet. Liquid makes up more than two-thirds of our body weight and is crucial to life.

Dehydration can be a serious issue, especially in the South in the heat of summer. It is easy to forget to drink enough each day, especially if you’re busy, but it’s important to make it a priority.

Even if you don’t feel thirsty, replacing water you lose through sweating is vital. In hot weather, experts advise drinking liquids more often, especially before exercise or play. And during exercise, experts advise drinking a half of glass of water every 15 minutes is recommended. Even after you’ve stopped exercising, it’s wise to continue to drink water so that you can replace all the fluids you’ve lost.

If you weight yourself before and after exercising, the “weight” you lose on the bathroom scale is the weight of your water loss due to perspiration. A pint of water weighs 1 pound. So if you lose 1 pound of weight while exercising or on a very hot day, you need to drink a pint of water or other liquid to replace the lost fluid.

Experts say adults need at least two quarts – or eight cups – of water every day for good health, but there is some debate about this recommendation. Also, as you think about it, you know we all are different in size, shape, age, gender, fitness and health. And, therefore, our nutritional requirements also vary to some degree.

The easiest way to know if you are getting enough liquid each day is to know the signs of dehydration. Most people will become thirsty before becoming dehydrated, so be sure to drink some liquid if you are thirsty. In some cases though and particularly for older adults, you might not be thirsty even though you need to replenish liquids. Another way to prevent dehydration is to note the color of your urine. If it is dark – rather than clear or light yellow – you may be on your way to dehydration.

Other signs of dehydration include the following. Extreme thirst; dry, warm skin; dizziness; weakness; headaches; dry mouth or dry tongue with thick saliva.

The easiest way to ensure that you are getting plenty of liquid each day, of course, is to eat foods with high water content (including fruits, vegetables, soups and stews) and drink lots of fluids. And you should know that many fluids have water in them that can help you meet your daily needs. When you’re figuring out whether you’re getting enough, you can count in milk, fruit juice, fruit drinks, and even carbonated and caffeinated beverages – including coffee, tea and colas. However, remember that milk, especially skim, and fruit juice are better for you in terms of nutrient content.

Liquid in the body serves many purposes. It lubricates the joints. It regulates our body temperature through the blood stream and perspiration. It also prevents constipation and a dry mouth. Also, body metabolic functions occur in a watery solution, and some of the water we have available in our bodies is a result of metabolism. In fact, our body fluids are mostly water, and the cells and spaces between the cells are filled with fluid.

Liquids really are crucial for the body to function properly.