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Lifestyle Choices for Wellness

Timely discussion on topics of health and wellness to encourage action and improvement in personal wellness.

Summer Smarts: Hydration is Key

This post is courtesy of a student I have had the pleasure of working with last semester. Stephanie Hillyer, a Bradley University senior studying dietetics, has shed some light on a very serious topic that is crucial for good health this time of the year!

Hydration is always important, especially right now while the outdoor temperature is hot, hot, hot! As the temperature rises, so does your need for water. Those summer activities that leave you in the heat for long durations-boating, ballgames, camping- are times when there is no such thing as too much water!
The daily-recommended intake for water is 13 cups for men and 9 cups for women each day. This amount can vary greatly however depending on climate, health status, activity level, and body size. So before we all get too excited for this upcoming warm weather, make yourself in the habit of drinking enough water to stay hydrated and feeling well!


Tips for how to incorporate more water in your diet:

  • Keep your favorite cup by your kitchen sink and make a habit to fill it and drink the whole cup throughout the day.
  • Carry a water bottle to work, to class, or in your car
  • Change things up by adding sugar-free lemonade packets to your water or drinking iced tea
  • Squeeze lemon or other citrus fruits into your water for flavor
  • Avoid dehydrators such as sodium, alcohol and caffeine

Don't think that carrying a water bottle or avoiding dehydrating foods is your only hope for staying hydrated this spring/summer! According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, other good sources of fluid include sports drinks, juices, soups, smoothies, fruits and vegetables. They also say that hydration is most important before, during, and after physical activity. For shorter workouts (<60 minutes) water is the best source of fluids, however for longer workouts, sports drinks made up of 6-8% carbohydrates are the best options to replace electrolytes and carbohydrates.

Some foods that are water-rich are:

  • Grapefruit-90% water
  • Watermelon-91% water
  • Lettuce-96% water
  • Broccoli-89% water
  • Low- fat Milk- 89% water
  • Yogurt-85% water

Mayo Clinic states that the preference of Americans choosing water over soda has increased by 38% over the past 15 years, which is a good start, but we still choose soda over water much more than most other countries. In 2008, they calculated that Americans on average consume 58 gallons of water per year. Although that sounds like a lot of water, that's only 20 ounces or 2.5 cups per day, which is not nearly enough!

Why is water so important?

  • According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics…
  • It regulates your body temperature
  • It helps your body to remove wastes
  • It makes up the majority of your blood
  • It carries nutrients and oxygen to the cells that need them

So I challenge you…make an extra effort to stay hydrated in the hot summer sun!

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