by Alicia Kroat, RD, LDN, Jennifer
Fleming, MS, RD and Penny Kris-Etherton, PhD, RD
It is important to maintain a healthy
hydration status at all times since the body is dependent on adequate water
status for normal body function. Dehydration
occurs when the body loses more fluids than it takes in. Infants and children,
older adults, and people with chronic diseases or illnesses are at an increased
risk of dehydration. Signs and symptoms of mild to moderate dehydration
include: fatigue, loss of appetite, flushed skin, heat intolerance,
light-headedness, dark-colored urine, headache, constipation, and a dry cough.
key to preventing dehydration is to drink fluids before you feel thirsty. The feeling
of thirst diminishes with age and typically occurs after your body is
dehydrated. It also is common for
individuals to confuse thirst with hunger.
Drinking a glass of water before grabbing a snack will help you
distinguish between the two senses.
best way to prevent dehydration is to consume adequate amounts of fluid. While some foods provide fluid, we recommend
that you try to consume at least 8 (8 oz.) glasses of water each day. The American Heart Association recognizes that the amount of water a person needs depends
on a variety of factors including their health condition. For example, heart
disease requires a balance of fluids and electrolytes to minimize the workload
of the heart. For more information, visit: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/MyHeartandStrokeNews/Staying-Hydrated---Staying-Healthy_UCM_441180_Article.jsp
water lovers, 64 ounces per day may be simple to achieve. For everyone else,
consuming 8 glasses of water may seem like an impossible challenge. But what if
you drank "decorated” water? Try adding a lemon or lime wedge, crushed mint
leaves, sliced cucumbers, or strawberries.
If you crave a fizzy refreshment, consider seltzer water, sparkling
mineral water flavored with fruit, a combination of water and other low-calorie
beverage. For example, mix half a glass of water with half a glass of Crystal Light lemonade. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows how
substituting just 4 high calorie beverages with low calorie beverages such as
water throughout the day can eliminate almost 800 calories. For more
information, visit: http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating/drinks.html
ways to increase fluid intake is to have a constant reminder to drink fluids by
keeping a water bottle with you at your desk or while you are running errands.
Additionally, foods high in water content also can be used as a means hydration.
The University of Kentucky has published a list of food high in water content.
For a complete list visit: http://www2.ca.uky.edu/enri/pubs/enri129.pdf
with greater than 90% water include: Cantaloupe, grapefruit, strawberries, and
watermelon. Vegetables with greater than 90% water include: broccoli, green
cabbage, red cabbage, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, eggplant, iceberg lettuce,
sweet peppers, radish, spinach, zucchini, red tomatoes, and green tomatoes.
beverages may promote dehydration and/or prolong the rehydration process.
While sports drinks provide essential electrolytes, they only replenish
electrolytes lost during sweating. They also may contain excessive amounts of
sodium. If you are unable to consume
adequate water, and enjoy the taste of sports drinks, we recommend that you
dilute them to 50% water and 50% sports drink.
CARBOHYDRATE DRINKS: Many
sports drinks and beverages such as fruit juices, sodas, and flavored (sweetened)
waters are high in carbohydrates and calories . This may cause stomach upset
when your body is trying to rehydrate.
Be aware that some beverages promote dehydration and thus should be limited.
Beverages that promote dehydration include alcohol and caffeinated beverages
such as coffee, teas, and colas. If you
enjoy drinking tea throughout the day you should consider switching to
decaffeinated teas with no sugar added or sweetened with a no calorie
more information on dehydration visit: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dehydration/DS00561