Guest post by Mary Lamp, BA Exercise Science, Eastern Michigan University dietetics undergraduate
More than 60% of the human body is made up of water, and most humans can only go one week without it. Water aids the body in maintaining homeostasis, a constant internal physiological balance (see 5 fast facts). Water is also extremely important mentally, for it supports healthy brain cells, improves concentration, helps balance moods and emotions, maintains memory function, improves quality of sleep, and improves blood flow to the brain.
5 Fast Facts:
- Drinking water aids in the maintenance of body fluids. Throughout the day we are constantly losing fluids.
- Muscles need water for peak performance. When the body’s cells don’t get enough fluid, muscle fatigue occurs. Be sure to get adequate hydration during and after exercise since water is lost through perspiration.
- Water aids digestion. The digestive and excretion processes run smoothly with regular intake of H2O, as it cleanses the body of any toxins and waste, especially within the body’s filtering hub—the kidneys.
- Water has beauty benefits. The skinny on the skin is it acts as a barrier to help prevent excess fluid loss. Drinking water regularly makes the skin look better: less dry and wrinkly.
- Water may help with weight management. Food high in water content is absorbed more slowly by the body and requires more chewing to break down due to higher volume, providing feelings of fullness.
64 Ounces Each Day: Fact or Myth?
“Everyone must drink eight, eight ounce glasses of water per day.” This rule of thumb is a general guideline. Age, sex, and physical activity level highly influence daily fluid needs. Teenage boys and adult men require approximately 11.4 cups of fluids (water and other fluids) per day while teenage girls need 9.7 cups and adult women, like men, should have 11.4 cups. Depending on whether you sit on the couch all day or run a 5K, fluid needs fluctuate. Fluid needs increase with increased physical activity. Fluid needs also increase in a hot climates: A higher fluid intake is required in order to prevent dehydration, which could lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
Consider Fluids in Foods and Beverages
When adding up fluid intake, consider water and other fluids such as coffee, tea, milk, juice and broth-based soups. Fruits with high water content such as watermelon, oranges, melons and grapefruit also contribute to fluid intake. Vegetables also contain water (e.g., Romaine lettuce, tomatoes, celery, green peppers, and cucumbers) but to a lesser extent than fruits. Alcoholic beverages don’t count because they dehydrate the body.
If you are like me, the taste of water can become boring. Here are several ways to add a burst of flavor to water:
- Strawberry cucumber water
- Blueberry, peach, lemon, and mint water
- Pineapple mint ginger water
- Lime and basil water
- Raspberry orange water
- Orange slices and vanilla bean water
- Cantaloupe infused water
- Blackberry and sage water
- Watermelon mint water
- Watermelon and jalapeño water
- Apple cinnamon water
- Peach and cayenne pepper water
- Grapefruit infused water
- Tomato basil water
- Classic cucumber infused water
- Tomato, celery, and bell pepper water
- Lemon water
You may want to experiment with various flavor combinations to suit your taste and keep it interesting. Enjoy!
Flavored water recipes: