Hydration Nation

Did you know that several types of beverages and many different foods can all contribute to your hydration status throughout the day? This means that your daily fluid intake for hydration is not limited to just water. The daily recommendations for water are about 3.7L for men, and 2.7Lfor women; however, the amount of fluid needed each day varies between individuals and depends on various factors such as age and activity level.1Hydrating fluids can come from many different sources, as will be discussed in this blog post.

Drinking water is a great way to stay hydrated, but sometimes we may want to drink something a little more flavourful. Adding some fruits, cucumber, or mint to water can help add some flavour, but there are also several other types of beverages that can hydrate our bodies and contribute to our daily fluid intake. These fluids include: soft drinks, sports drinks, juice, milk, broth, coffee, and tea.All of these beverages are a great choice for hydration because they all have a high water content. Many soft drinks contain between 89 to 99 percent water, along with other ingredients and flavourings.2Similarly, sports drinks have a high water content and also contain carbohydrates and electrolytes that help keep the body in balance during intense exercise. Fruit and vegetable juices are composed of primarily water, unless they are concentrated. Juices also contain vitamins and carbohydrates that fuel our bodies. Likewise, water is the main constituent in animal milks, ranging from 83 to 91 percent.3Animal milks are also a good source of protein, calcium, and vitamin D. Similarly, plant-based milks, nut milks, and broth are all composed of primarily water and contain other nutrients.

There is a common misconception that coffee, tea, and other caffeinated beverages are dehydrating due to the fact that caffeine can induce fluid excretion. Although it is true that large amounts of caffeine can increase an individual’s need to urinate, the amount of caffeine in a regular coffee or tea is not sufficient enough to disturb fluid balance. Caffeine can cause mild fluid loss when consumed in large doses of more than 500 mg (about 5 cups of coffee).4Furthermore, the water content in most caffeinated beverages outweighs the possible caffeine-induced fluid loss.5Therefore, it is possible to enjoy caffeinated beverages throughout the day while hydrating your body, but remember, all foods and beverages fit in moderation.

It may seem as though all fluids available to us are hydrating, however, alcohol is an exception. Alcoholic beverages do not count towards fluid intake for hydration because they promote fluid excretion and dehydration in any quantity.6In addition, strong alcoholic beverages do not contain enough water to replace lost fluids. If you chose to consume alcohol, make sure to drink enough water to replace lost fluids.

There are several foods that have a high water content and can help hydrate our bodies. Many fruits and vegetables are composed of more than 80 percent water. Some examples include watermelon, tomatoes, strawberries, oranges, lettuce, celery, and cucumber. Some simple ways to incorporate more fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet are eating them as a snack, making a fruit and/or vegetable salad, or making a smoothie using fruits and vegetables. Both lettuce and zucchini have very mild flavours and are packed with water, nutrients, and fibre, which makes them a great addition to smoothies. Soups and yogurt are also relatively rich in water. Note that most packaged and processed foods have a lower water content in order to increases their shelf life.

Water is essential for survival. It is responsible for lubricating joints, making nutrients accessible for the body, transporting nutrients and waste, and regulating temperature.7Common signs of dehydration include thirst, dry mouth, fatigue, dizziness, confusion, and irritability.8Remember that thirst is not always a reliable indicator of hydration status, and it is possible to drink too much water; thus, sipping on beverages throughout the day is the best way to stay hydrated. In addition, eating a variety of water-rich foods, and drinking a variety of different beverages each day can make meeting your daily fluid intake more pleasurable. With so many different sources of water available to us, remaining hydrated can be easy. Carrying a reusable water bottle when going out is another helpful way to stay hydrated. With such a large variety of hydrating foods and beverages, nourishing our bodies can be simple, easy, and enjoyable.


References

  1. Dietary reference intakes: water, potassium, sodium, chloride, and sulfate. (2004). In The National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved from http://nationalacademies.org/hmd/reports/2004/dietary-reference-intakes-water-potassium-sodium-chloride-and-sulfate.aspx.
  2. Journey Staff. Why water is one of the coca-cola company’s most important ingredient. In Coca-Cola Journey. Retrieved from https://www.coca-cola.co.uk/stories/why-water-is-one-of-our-most-important-ingredients.
  3. Milk composition. In Food and Agriculture Organization. Retrieved from http://www.fao.org/dairy-production-products/products/milk-composition/en/.
  4. Renn, Lisa. (2014). Does coffee make you dehydrated? InABC. Retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/health/talkinghealth/factbuster/stories/2014/02/27/3951831.htm.
  5. Flood, Anthony. (2018). Newsbite: pore over what drinking only coffee and tea all day does to your body. In Food Insight. Retrieved from https://www.foodinsight.org/what-happens-if-you-drink-coffee-and-tea-all-day-caffeine.
  6. Healthy hydration guide. (2018). InBritish Nutrition Foundation. Retrieved from https://www.nutrition.org.uk/healthyliving/hydration/healthy-hydration-guide.html.
  7. Mayo Clinic Staff. Functions of water in the body. In Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/multimedia/functions-of-water-in-the-body/img-20005799.
  8. Mayo Clinic Staff. (2018). Dehydration. In Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dehydration/symptoms-causes/syc-20354086.

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