Bad Medicine

Keep Hydrated: Why Hydration Is Important for Health

It's common knowledge that in 80-degree weather, the body needs to replenish lost fluids. So, in higher temperatures, you reach for a cold glass of water without much thought.

But even in the dead of winter, we still lose water on a regular basis. Though you may not have sweat pouring off your brow, your body is constantly losing the life-promoting resource of water through the body processes of perspiration, urination and even breathing.

And regardless of temperature, when we are ill, we lose even more water than normal. So, if you feel a case of the sniffles coming on, you know it's time to up your water consumption.

If you aren't drinking enough water, your body might have trouble regulating its temperature, eliminating wastes and keeping skin moisturized. Water carries nutrients to each of your cells, so it is essential for all bodily functions. The bottom line is that water makes up 60 percent of your body, and you simply cannot function without it.

How much is enough?

According to a 2004 report from the Institute of Medicine, men should be drinking about 13 cups per day, and women should consume about nine cups. Many experts will tell you to drink eight cups per day. If you can do that, you'll be more hydrated than most Americans, but will still be drinking the absolute minimum required for optimal health.

What if I don't like water?

Other drinks and even foods contain water, so you can consume them along with water in order to achieve your daily goals.

  • Drink milk or fruit juices: Both are mostly water.
  • Consume less caffeine: Because it's dehydrating, you'll have to drink one extra cup of water for every caffeinated beverage consumed.
  • Eat more watermelon: Add water-rich foods to your diet, such as watermelon, lettuce, broccoli, grapefruit and carrots.

Getting excited about hydration:

  • Buy a water bottle in your favorite color
  • Put up reminders in your work place to drink water
  • Keep a water tally and reward yourself for meeting your water goal
  • Meet friends at the water cooler instead of the break room during downtime at work

Healthy Bites appears on MyHealthNewsDaily on Wednesdays. Deborah Herlax Enos is a certified nutritionist and a health coach and weight loss expert in the Seattle area with more than 20 years of experience. Read more tips on her blog, Health in a Hurry!

Deborah Enos
Deborah Enos, CN, also known as "The One-Minute Wellness Coach," is The Health Coach for busy, working people. She pares her good-health messages down to simple and fast bullet points that can impact lives in 60 seconds or less. Deborah serves as a board member of the American Heart Association.  In addition to writing the Healthy Bites column for Live Science, Deborah is a regular on FOX Business News, NBC and ABC, and is a frequent contributor to The Costco Connection, Parade Magazine, Self Magazine, Good Housekeeping and USA Today. Deborah is also The One Minute Wellness Coach for The Doctors TV Show.