By Vishal Mehta, BPharm, RPh
An important fun fact – 60% of the human body is made up of water. As we march into summer and temperatures begin to increase, it is more important to ensure we are well hydrated as we make the most of the amazing weather. When spending lots of time outdoors in warmer and humid weather, we lose water from our bodies through sweating.
Our bodies require water for normal functions like temperature regulation, maintaining normal blood pressure, supporting normal brain function, mood, and digestion.
It is commonly recommended for the average person, to drink at least 8 glasses of water per day, more if there is greater heat, humidity or activity levels. People engaging in outdoor work or sport may notice they need to drink more water, and should aim for a minimum of 1 ounce per pound of body weight. It is also important to drink water regularly through the day, instead of only when thirsty, as thirst is a sign that we are already dehydrated. Other signs of dehydration include fatigue, dizziness, headaches, drying of the mouth/lips and infrequent urination.
Another good way to gauge your hydration status is the colour of the urine. A pale-yellow colour indicates good hydration, whereas an apple-juice colour means we need to increase our water intake. In addition to drinking water, certain fruits and vegetables can also be hydrating. Watermelons, tomatoes, cucumbers, celery and lettuce are all great examples of foods rich in water. Although fruit juices and popsicles can help hydrate you, they tend to be high in sugar and hence should be consumed in moderation.
Drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning is an excellent way to kick start your digestive system, especially if you wake up feeling dehydrated. Water by itself may be boring to some. Adding flavouring agents can help make it more interesting. There are also lots of apps available to help track and remind one to drink water and stay hydrated. And best of all, keep a refillable bottle handy at all times.