Proper Hydration Throughout the Day

By: Alison Licquia MS, RDN, CD

Q: How Much Water do I Need in a Day?
A: Most of us have heard our body is largely made up of water; 60% as a matter of fact. Every system of our body requires it and it is our body’s principal cellular component. Our water stores are diminished by our breath, perspiration, urine and bowel movements. So we must replenish or we risk dehydration which can drain our energy and make us tired. Prolonged dehydration compromises our kidneys and the normal functions of other vital organs.

So how much water do you need in a day? Adequate intake has been determined to be 13 cups of total beverages a day for men and 9 cups for women by the Institute of Medicine (IOM). Remember, water is present in all fluids – so all beverages count! Many of you have heard “Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.” If you add to that other beverages and fluids, you will easily meet or exceed the IOM recommended 9 cups of water per day for women. The “8×8” rule is easy to remember and a great starting place for a day free of stress.

So what about the days that are stressful? Your water or fluid requirements can be affected by:

  • Hot or humid weather
  • High altitude
  • Dry indoor air
  • Exercise
  • Illness such as fever, vomiting or diarrhea
  • Pregnancy or breast-feeding
  • Chemo or Radiotherapy

Increasing your intake for any of the above should be with water. To double check you are drinking enough water the sure test is in the bathroom. A person who is well hydrated has urine that is very pale in color; ‘strawlike’ is the term we use. If you have questions about your hydration needs or have complex health issues, please consult your doctor. You may also attend the monthly Ask a Dietician meeting here at the Tri-Cities Cancer Center on the first Tuesday of each month at 9AM (except for July). We are happy to discuss your hydration issues and any other dietary concerns.

Remember water is the best choice for your 8×8! It is calorie-free and inexpensive. Find yourself a water bottle that fits your style and never leave home without it!

Reference: Mayo Clinic Healthy Lifestyle, Nutrition and Healthy Eating.

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