It is July in North Louisiana and we don’t need to listen to a weatherman in the morning to know it is going to be hot outside. Many times we only think of hydrating our bodies during the summer heat, but hydration is important at all times. The importance of drinking water every day helps us stay alert and keeps our body systems working efficiently. There are many benefits of drinking enough fluids every day. It keeps our body temperature steady when it is either hot or cold. It helps to carry nutrients and oxygen to the cells. It keeps body tissues from drying out like in our eyes, mouth or nose. It is a part of all body fluids including saliva, blood, gastric juices and urine. It cushions the joints and protects the organs and cells.
When it comes to hydration the first thing that usually comes to our mind is “water”. It is important to hydrate by drinking water, but there are other ways to get small amounts of hydration. For example, soups are comprised of mostly water. According to Center for Disease Control (CDC) other hydrating foods include celery, tomatoes, oranges and melons.
A basic rule to follow is to simply drink when you are thirsty, however extra hydration is needed during the hot summer sun and when doing physical activity. Keep a water bottle with you so you have easy access to liquids. It is best to drink water, but if you choose to drink other flavored surgery or caffeinated drinks, be aware of what comes with those drinks. Many times there are hidden calories or caffeine.
Most of your fluid intake should be water. Other good choices are milk, juice and fortified soy milk. Watch the empty calories from soft drinks, sweet tea, flavored bottle water and other sweet drinks. Realize that drinks with caffeine will not effectively replenish fluid loss since they cause your kidneys to produce more urine. They can also keep you awake at night and make you jittery. So choose your fluids wisely. They are a vital part of your good health habits.
This article is written by Markaye Russell, Area Nutrition Agent, Ouachita and Union Parishes. This article is referenced by LSU AgCenter, Center for Disease Control, Michigan State Cooperative Extension Service and University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service.