Every now and then nutrition myths come out of the closet to haunt us. The idea that everyone needs eight glasses of water everyday to be healthy is one of those myths. Yes, fluids are important to overall health, but there is so much more to fluids than water.
There is no denying that water is important. It helps carry nutrients to cells, takes waste out of the body, and also is essential to maintaining normal body temperature. That is why people sweat. During a typical day, an individual can lose two to three quarts of water.
To quench thirst and restore fluid loss, there are many foods and beverages that meet this goal besides water. Fruits such as apples, blueberries, grapefruit, cantaloupe, and watermelon are all at least 80% water. Veggies with at least 90% water include broccoli, cabbage, celery, cucumber, iceberg lettuce, and sweet peppers.
Other food options that provide fluid include low fat milk, yogurt, juice, coffee and tea, soda (I prefer diet to keep down sugar intake), sports drinks, and popsicles.
Energy drinks are not recommended when looking to satisfy thirst because these drinks often contain large amounts of caffeine or herbal stimulants that can react with medications and create or worsen health conditions.
According to the latest guidelines by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), healthy adults can use their thirst as a guide for hydration needs. Notice the word healthy. This recommendation would not apply to those who are ill or with certain medical conditions.
Women who are pregnant, children, the elderly, and people with health conditions can be more susceptible to heat stress or may need different fluid recommendations. Follow the advice of your doctor if you have any health condition, are receiving chemotherapy, or if there is a limit on the amount of fluids you can drink.
Also, athletes and those who engage in heavy exercise or perform strenuous work in extreme temperatures will need extra fluids. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) advises people to drink two to four 8-ounce glasses of water every hour when engaged in heavy exercise during hot weather.
For more ideas on quenching thirst, visit The Kitchin Sink, an informative blog written by Beth Kitchin, an assistant professor of nutrition sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).
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The articles written by Andrea Wenger, Birmingham Diets Examiner, are for informational purposes only and are not to be used in the place of medical advice. Please contact a licensed physician or other medical professional before changing any health care routine or before starting any diet, fitness, or exercise program. Although every effort has been made to include the most current information, new information is released daily and may cause some recommendations to change.