The August topic in our Positive Resolutions for the New Year project is Drink Up. Why? Hydration is vital to good health, especially during hot summer days.
Water is an important nutrient that makes up much of your body weight. It's part of all your body’s fluids and prevents dehydration, helps get rid of waste, keeps body temperature normal, improves blood oxygen circulation, lubricates and cushions joints, and affects energy levels and brain function.
A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that low drinking water intake was associated with other unhealthful behaviors. Nearly half of the study participants drank less than four cups of water a day and 7% reported drinking no water daily.
Your body loses water every day through urine and sweat and these losses need to be replaced. If you’re working hard or exercising or if the weather is very hot or you’re at a high altitude, you’ll lose more. Drinking fluids with caffeine and alcohol will hasten this loss.
Watch your urine! If it’s dark yellow in color, you need to drink more water.
Your body can’t make water, so you need to put water into your body through beverages or food. A good rule of thumb is that we need to take in at least six to eight cups of fluid every day. The amount needed does vary based on age, gender, physical activity, medical conditions, and medications taken. While water should be the main drink of choice, other beverages and foods can provide some of this fluid. Fruits and vegetables, soups, fruit juices, and decaffeinated drinks count toward your overall intake.
Here are some positive ideas to help you Drink Up in a healthful way. Pick a few to try!
- Start the day off right with a big glass of water as soon as you wake up (even before coffee).
- Put a glass by the sink and drink up after brushing your teeth.
- Carry a reusable water bottle with you and sip throughout the day. Count how many times you can refill during the day.
- Order water at restaurants and drink a glass before your meal.
- Put a half-gallon (64 ounces) pitcher of infused water in your refrigerator. Challenge yourself to drink the entire pitcher each day.
- Set a goal for yourself to replace some of the caffeinated beverages you currently drink with plain water or a decaffeinated option.
- If many of the beverages you currently drink are high in added sugars, consider swapping them out with 100% fruit juice, a sugar-free latte, diet cola, water, plain coffee or fat-free milk. These simple changes have zero grams of added sugar. And, as a bonus, you’ll get vitamins and minerals from the juice and milk. If you can’t go “cold turkey” on cutting out high-added-sugar beverages completely, work to cut down on the amount you drink.
- Order a small or medium instead of a large soda at the drive-thru (even small steps make a difference).
Take some time this month to evaluate how you hydrate your body. Then set some positive goals for yourself. Don’t wait to be thirsty… Drink Up!
By Cheryle Jones Syracuse, MS, Professor Emeritus at The Ohio State University
PS: Here are links to all the positive resolutions for the last few months:
Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.