Water is crucial for your health and makes up about 65% of your body weight. Every cell in your body depends on it.
According to the Mayo Clinic, dehydration occurs when your body loses more fluids than you take in. Without enough fluids, your body will have a hard time performing its normal functions.
Even mild dehydration- as little as 1-2% loss of your body weight- can lead to a drop in energy, mental concentration and metabolism.
Signs of dehydration include:
- Excess thirst
- Muscle weakness
- Little or no urine output
You lose water everyday through sweating, breathing, urinating and bowel movements, and that water must be replaced through your diet. Water needs vary by individual but most people need between 6-12 cups per day. Water needs increase with exercise, illness, humidity, pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Sources of Water Beyond the Tap
In an average adult diet, about 80% of water intake comes from beverages. Water, milk, juice, beer, wine and caffeinated beverages — such as coffee, tea or soda — can contribute, but these should not be a major portion of your daily total fluid intake. Water is still your best bet because it's calorie-free, inexpensive and readily available. The remaining 20% of water intake comes from food. For example, many fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon and tomatoes, are 90 percent or more water by weight.
Staying Safely Hydrated
Make a conscious effort to stay hydrated and choose water more often than any other beverage. Try drinking 8 oz of water (plain, flavored or with a lemon or lime wedge) with meals and between meals.
If you are drinking enough water to quench your thirst and produce a colorless or slightly yellow normal amount of urine, your fluid intake is probably adequate.
What steps do you take to stay hydrated?