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Nutrition News: Water for Health

Charlyn Fargo on

Ever wonder how much water you should be drinking daily? The answer depends on a lot of different factors, such as your age, activity level, whether you're pregnant or breastfeeding, the temperature outside, your medications, your health, the food you eat and even whether you have access to air conditioning.

The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is about 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day for men and about 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women.

Other health experts often recommend people drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. This is commonly known as the "8x8" rule. It may not apply to everyone, though. That may or may not be enough.

What's clear is even mild dehydration can affect us. In a study published in Oxford Academic Journal, researchers found that a fluid loss of 1.36% after exercise impaired mood and concentration and caused headaches.

Another study, published in the journal Obesity, found that drinking more water than usual (before meals) helped with weight loss. Middle-aged obese or overweight participants were assigned to one of two groups for a 12-week period. Those who added 500 milliliters of water before their daily meals (compared to no water) lost 4 pounds more than those who didn't drink water before their daily meals.

Drinking enough water also helps with constipation, preventing urinary tract infections and kidney stones, and skin hydration.

 

And it's true other foods that contain water can help. Those include other beverages, celery, cucumber, lettuce, zucchini, watermelon, strawberries, cantaloupe, cauliflower, peaches, oranges and grapefruit, broth and soups, tomatoes, peppers, cabbage and yogurt.

As we age, water is even more important as aging brings about physical changes that affect the body's ability to cool itself and stay hydrated. Medications can also affect a person's ability to stay hydrated. In addition, many older people avoid drinking water because going to the bathroom is harder. They also may not "feel" thirsty anymore. Diseases such as dementia can make older adults more susceptible to dehydration as they may have a limited ability to communicate thirst.

Here are some tips to know you're staying hydrated in the heat:

No. 1: Drink throughout the day for clear, pale urine.

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