No matter the weather or season, keeping our bodies hydrated is critical. Water helps to regulate our body temperature, keeping us cool in the summer and comfortable during the winter. With summer here, it’s a good time to visit the topic of hydration as severe temperatures dehydrate the body quickly, increasing our fluid needs even when we may not feel thirst.
Approximately 80% of people’s fluid intake comes from drinking water and beverages, including caffeinated beverages, with the other 20% through foods(1). Although no specific recommendation is set with regards to water alone, the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) suggests women consume 11 cups and men 16 cups of fluid from both food and beverages each day. High-moisture foods do contribute to overall hydration, but it’s best to consume pure water for the majority of our hydration needs. Water is the perfect drink: It is calorie free, preservative free, and contains no artificial sweeteners.
In extreme temperatures and with prolonged physical activity, water needs increase, especially during summer months. Remember, sweating is the body’s way to stay cool as it releases heat through sweat so it’s very important to replace that water lost by maintaining hydration. To meet hydration needs, select beverages like water, milk or caffeine-free coffee or tea. Try carrying a water bottle to remind you to drink, keep a bottle on your desk, or once you’ve finished your morning coffee, use your mug to hold water. If plain water isn’t for you, try adding a slice of lemon or lime or opt for sparkling water. Just remember to stay hydrated!
Dietary Reference Intakes: Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate. Available at: https://www.iom.edu/Reports/2004/Dietary-Reference-Intakes-Water-Potassium-Sodium-Chloride-and-Sulfate.aspx. Accessed: June 12, 2015.