Thursday, 20 February 2014

Water. It's Important.

This is an indisputable fact: water is important. Our bodies are made up mostly of water— about 60% to be exact! The amount of water that we need on a daily basis varies depending on the individual. It can change with your level of activity, your health and even with the climate you live in. A general rule of thumb is that males should consume approximately 3.0L, while females should get about 2.2L of water. This value includes water that you get from food as well as drinks.

Wondering how to tell if you are dehydrated? If you answer "yes" to any of the following, it's possible that you may want to grab a glass of water!
  • Have a dry mouth/lips?
  • Feeling dizzy? Lightheaded? Tired?
  •  (a little personal now) Dark yellow, strong smelling urine?
  • Feeling hungry? Sometimes our brains cannot distinguish between hunger and thirst!

Here are some tips to keep you hydrated and healthy!

Water is the best way to keep you hydrated, and the Canadian Food Guide recommends that you “satisfy your thirst with water” for good reason—it’s refreshing, calorie free and inexpensive! Here are some ways you can increase your intake of good ol’ plain water:
  • Keep a water bottle with you, at your desk, in your backpack, in your purse etc. If it’s with you, staring you in the face, you are more likely to drink it
  • Get a drinking cup or water bottle that you like. I have one that is really handy and fun—I always keep it at my desk!
  • If you find you are still not drinking enough, make a goal for yourself and keep track of your fluid intake by filling up a container in the morning (like a larger bottle or even a Brita) and making sure you drink it by the end of the day

Don’t like the flavour of water?
  • Add a slice of lemon, some cucumber or even some berries for a fresh, fruity flavour
  • Add a flavour packet like Crystal Light Singles—I use these sometimes to change it up, my favourites are Acai White Peach Papaya and Tangerine Grapefruit. And yes, I know these have Splenda and/or Aspartame in them. These sugar substitutes are perfectly safe to use, and I will have a whole blog post in the near future about them!

And water is not the only thing that keeps you hydrated!
  • The Canadian Food Guide recommends to drink 100% vegetable/fruit juices, but I think that making yourself a smoothie is a better option than juicing. Smoothies include all of the nutrients, such as fibre, which are lost when you remove the skin of the fruit or veggie. There are also many options for nutritious additives such as yogurt, milk and ground flaxseed. I think that a delicious smoothie recipe may be in order, just to make this blog complete!
  • Drink skim, 1% or 2% milk, whether it is plain or chocolate
  • Drink some tea or coffee. Now there is a lot of controversy surrounding caffeine intake, its diuretic effect and potential to dehydrate you. If you drink coffee or tea on a regular basis, these warm beverages actually count towards your fluid intake. If you are new to coffee or tea, it may take 3-4 days for your body to get used to the caffeine. During this time, I would recommend drinking a glass of water for every cup of caffeinated beverage that you consume.
  • Have a piece of fruit, eat some veggies or even warm yourself up a bowl of soup on a cold winter day. There are many food items which provide your body with the hydration it needs.
Make sure you stay hydrated with some warm, minty tea (mmmm my favourite!) and stay tuned for Emma's post next week on National Eating Disorders Awareness Week! 

Mayo Clinic (2011). Water: How much should you drink everyday?
Dietitians of Canada (2013). Guidelines for staying hydrated.

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