Despite an ever-changing world, one thing has stayed the same & water is essential for life. Water plays a huge role in the human body. It controls body temperature and blood pressure, cushions joints, aids digestion, gives structure to cells, and helps your body get rid of wastes. It is the most important nutrient!
On average, a person needs between 8 and 12- eight ounce glasses of water a day. This large amount of water is needed to make up for the water used in your day to day activities such as sweating, going to the bathroom and breathing. There are times when the human body needs even more fluids:
- On hot days.
- When eating a high fibre diet
- While exercising.
- When the humidity is low.
- At high altitudes.
- In case of increased fluid losses from caffeine or alcohol intake or due to illness (fever, vomiting, diarrhea).
Thirst is not always a good sign that your body needs fluids. Your body can already be partially dehydrated before you feel thirsty.
The best way to meet your fluid needs is by simply drinking water. However, other drinks such as milk and juice contain a large percentage of water, along with other nutrients. Some foods are also good sources of water, such as lettuce and many fruits. Drinks which contain caffeine or alcohol are not good choices to replace fluids. Both caffeine and alcohol cause your body to lose water to some extent.
Generally, bottled water and municipal tap water are both safe sources of fluid. Keep in mind that the mineral content of water can vary depending on the source. The best way to know what is in a bottled water product is to check the label. Municipal water may or may not contain fluoride, and is usually low in sodium. Check with your local water authority if you have a concern about your local water supply.
The following are great ways to include water in your healthy lifestyle:
- Drink a glass of water before each meal.
- Have a water bottle with you at all times.
- Take a sip from the drinking fountain before moving on.
- Have a glass of water for your morning and afternoon breaks.
- Always keep a water jug in the fridge.
- Add an orange, lemon or lime to your water for some extra flavor.
- Mix water and fruit juices 1/2 and 1/2.
- People who enjoy carbonated drinks can try club soda, seltzer or sparkling water.
Enjoy a variety of fluids, but remember, water is one fluid you cannot live without!
WRITTEN BY THE PUBLIC HEALTH NUTRITIONISTS OF SASKATCHEWAN
Originator: Marlene Jorgensen, Dietetic Intern, Swift Current Health District
Bass, Hollis. “Water: The Forgotten Nutrient,” http://www.foodandhealth.com.
Duyff, Roberta Larson. The American Dietetic Association’s Complete Food and Nutrition Guide. Chronimed Publishing, Minneapolis, 1998.
Feder, David. “Water, Water Everywhere . . . (water is an important part of healthy diet),”http://www.findarticles.com, 1999.
Omichinski, Linda. “You Count, Calories Don’t,” HUGS International Inc, 1999.
Technical Guideline No. 551. “Bottled Water Guidelines,” March 14, 1997.