From the Extension: Drink more water – here’s why

FRANKLIN LIVING MAY-JUNE 2023

Water is important for your health and survival. It is an essential component and makes up 50-70 percent of your body’s weight.  

DEHYDRATION

Crucially, water helps to prevent dehydration. Dehydration occurs when you use or lose more fluid than you take in, and your body does not have enough water and other fluids to carry out its normal functions. If you do not replace lost fluids, you will become dehydrated. Dehydration can cause unclear thinking, change in mood, overheating of body, constipation and kidney stones.

Signs and symptoms of dehydration in an infant or young child include:

  • Dry mouth and tongue
  • No tears when crying
  • No wet diapers for three hours
  • Sunken eyes or cheeks
  • Sunken soft spot on top of skull
  • Listlessness or irritability

Signs and symptoms of dehydration in an adult include:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Less frequent urination
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion

HEALTH NEEDS

There are 0 calories in water, so it can help manage body weight. Drinking water also helps to reduce other calories, especially when it comes to substituting it for sugary drinks such as sweet tea and sodas, which lead to type 2 diabetes, obesity and heart disease. Did you know sugary carbonated drinks contain 16 teaspoons of sugar, and sugary fruit punch contains 10 teaspoons of sugar?

The Institute of Medicine recommends a total of 13 cups – about 3 liters – of fluid each day for men and 9 cups – a little over 2 liters – of fluid each day for women. Pregnant women should drink about 10 cups of water daily, and those who breastfeed need about 12 cups. For children, how water need depends on weight, age, gender, health and climate. Along with eating foods that contain water, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, children and teens need 6-8 cups of water a day.

To drink more water:

  • Carry a refillable water bottle so you can drink water throughout the day.
  • Freeze some freezer-safe water bottles and take one with you so you can enjoy ice-cold water all day. 
  • Choose water when eating out, which helps save money and reduces calories. 
  • Serve water during meals.
  • Reach for it before and after exercising.
  • Add lime or lemon wedges to improve the taste.

RETHINK YOUR DRINK

These fruit infused water recipes are great for adding subtle sweetness without excess sugar. Eat the fruit afterward to get the most out of these tasty treats. For each recipe, mix the ingredients with a gallon of water and stir. Serve over ice.

  1. Blackberry Mint: 40 blackberries, smashed, and 40 mint leaves, torn in half.
  2. Blueberry Orange Basil: Three oranges, quartered; 30-45 blueberries, squeezed; and nine basil leaves, torn.
  3. Raspberry Lime: Four limes, without rind, and 40 raspberries, smashed.
  4. Strawberry Kiwi: Two kiwi, sliced, and five strawberries, sliced
  5. Watermelon Rosemary: 1/4 seedless watermelon and two sprigs of rosemary

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