Why Consuming Liquids Is So Important for Your Body
When you hear about staying hydrated, you may think that it’s only important for athletes or people who work out a lot. We’re here to tell you: it’s not. Staying hydrated is important for everyone. This is especially true if you’re spending a long time in hot weather or have certain medical problems, such as diabetes or a heart condition.
Why is staying hydrated important? It’s simple: Our bodies are mostly made of water. Therefore, everything that keeps us alive and moving—organs, muscles and nerves, for example—need fluids to work properly. Having enough fluids in our bodies also helps:
- To control body temperature
- Heart rate and blood pressure remain normal
- The way our bodies break down food and take in the vitamins and minerals we need
- To remove what our bodies don’t need through urine
What are some other health benefits to staying hydrated?
In addition to keeping everything in your body running in tip-top shape, staying hydrated may help you to:
- Balance your mood and maintain memory function by helping your brain work properly
- Keep your joints greased with fluid so they move with no problem
- Keep your skin flexible and avoid issues like infection, dry patches and signs of aging
What happens when you don’t keep your body hydrated?
When you’re only slightly dehydrated, you can have issues including:
- Dry mouth
- Feeling sleepy or tired
- Feeling thirsty
- Little or no tears
- Only a little urine coming out
When you’re very badly hydrated, you may experience:
- Blood pressure dropping when trying to stand after lying down
- Fast heart rate
- Feeling so dizzy or lightheaded that you can’t stand properly
- Little to no urine coming out
If you have any of the more serious symptoms, seek help immediately.
So, how much fluid should you be drinking?
Though you may have heard that drinking 64 ounces of water (about 8 glasses) a day is the only to stay properly hydrated, there is no real science to back that up. You should be drinking enough so that you’re going to the bathroom every two to four hours and your urine is light yellow and clear; if it’s dark and cloudy, it means you’re dehydrated.
If you’re an athlete, you will need more since you’re working your body harder. The best way to know how much you need is to weigh yourself before and after you exercise to see how much you’ve lost through sweating.
Will only water keep you hydrated?
While water is always the best and healthiest way to stay hydrated, you do have other options. Any liquid you consume will technically help keep you hydrated (even coffee, which has been rumored to actually dehydrate you).
There are also a lot of healthy foods you can eat with a high water content to help you stay quenched. These include:
- Baby carrots
- Cauliflower and broccoli
- Green pepper
- Lettuces (especially iceberg lettuce)
- Orange and grapefruit
- Star fruit
In short, you can eat the water your body needs every day if you so choose.
For more information about staying hydrated, schedule an appointment with your Primary Care Provider today.