Hydration for Health

By Patricia Barraza, RN, RD

The Best Option for Hydration

When working with clients on initially starting to make healthy lifestyle changes, I always ask, “What do you drink during the day?” I typically get the answer, “pop, tea, alcohol, and/or juice.” Most clients do not realize the empty calories, sugar, and other cruddy ingredients they are putting into their bodies. They then ask, “What can I drink?” My answer always is WATER. It’s the best thing for hydration.

Even if you just start by cutting out one pop in exchange for an 8oz glass of water. Making this subtle change typically causes a snowball effect of drinking more water, which leads to feeling better because of better hydration, and ultimately…weight loss.

How Much Water do you Need?

So, how much do you need to drink per day to reap all of its benefits? According to the American Dietetic Association (eatright.org), adequate hydration varies among individuals. Practical ways to monitor hydration are:

  • Urine color. The color of the first morning’s urine void after waking is an overall indicator of hydration status. Straw or lemonade colored urine is a sign of appropriate hydration. Dark colored urine, the color of apple juice, indicates dehydration. Dark urine is often produced soon after consuming vitamin supplements.
  • Sweat loss. Change in body weight before and after exercise is used to estimate sweat loss. Since an athlete’s sweat loss during exercise is an indicator of hydration status, athletes are advised to follow customized fluid replacement plans that consider thirst, urine color, fluid intake, sweat loss and body weight changes that occur during exercise. (eatright.org)

In closing, make water fun to drink! Add fruit to it and let it infuse overnight. Try citrus fruits like lemons and oranges in it, or try a carbonated soda water.

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