Staying hydrated is more than just drinking water. There are many beverages that can help us meet our daily fluid needs. Do you grab the glass of soy milk, cranberry juice, water, iced tea, diet soda, or another beverage? When it comes time to quench your thirst there are many beverages as well as foods that can help hydrate your body. As the weather gets warmer, staying hydrated in the summer is very important.
Getting Your Daily Water
How Much Water Should Children Drink?
Everyone has heard 8 cups or 64 oz. of water per day but that recommendation is usually for adults. What about children? The Institute of Medicine states children need between 5 and 11 cups of water per day (1). Fluid needs vary based on age, gender, activity level, weight, and overall health. There is no specific daily recommendation for water intake. Fluid needs increase if you are exercising, sweating, in a hot environment or have certain health conditions.
What Counts as Water?
Water, water in beverages and water in foods counts towards your daily intake. Most water intake comes from other beverages, followed by plain water then water in foods. Eighty percent of our water comes from beverages.
Check Your Hydration Status
Check your urine to monitor your hydration status. If you are getting adequate fluid, your urine should be pale yellow. Dark yellow or amber urine means you should increase your water intake. Record your fluid intake to see how much fluid you are getting per day.
Types of Drinks to Keep You Hydrated
Importance of Water
Water is an essential for the body to function. You can survive weeks without food but only days without water! Water helps lubricate your joints, deliver nutrients including oxygen to your cells, maintain a normal body temperature, protect your spinal cord, and remove waste from your body (2).
Water is the ideal beverage since the body is between 50 and 70% water! US children and adolescents drink an average of 23 ounces (3 cups) of plain water daily and US adults an average of 44 ounces (3). Coconut water, sparkling water, seltzer water and other varieties are acceptable but read the label to see if your water-based beverage has any added sugars.
Juice and Dairy
Is apple, cranberry, or orange (or insert other fruit) juice good for you? It depends. Many juices contain added sugars. Choose no added sugar or 100% fruit juices to get the vitamins and minerals without the calories from added sugar. Choose milk that is low-fat or fat-free. For non-dairy and plant-based beverages, choose unflavored, low-sugar varieties.
Consider sport drinks based on the intensity and duration of physical activity. Any activity that lasts more than 60 minutes, a sports drink can replenish electrolyte losses. Sports drinks replace fluids, supply energy, and replenish electrolyte losses (2).
Other Beverages for Hydration
Limit drinks that are high in calories, sugar, and caffeine. Sugar-sweetened beverages are the leading source of added sugars in the American diet. Read the labels of your favorite beverages to help make smarter beverage choices. Sugar-sweetened beverages should be “sometimes” drinks.
Foods to Keep You Hydrated
Roughly 20% of water needed for the day can be obtained from the food you eat (4). Many fruits and vegetables are high in water. Melons such as cantaloupe and watermelon as well as strawberries are excellent sources of water.
Vegetables such as lettuce, cucumbers, celery, tomatoes, and kale are good sources of water too. Other fruits and vegetables such as grapes, oranges, pineapples, pears, carrots, and avocados contain more than 70% water (4). Jell-O and popsicles are another treat that can help you stay hydrated during the summer.
Tips for Staying Hydrated in the Summer
- Try flavored water. Add fruits, vegetables, herbs, or a splash of 100% fruit juice to give water a different flavor. Look for no sugar added flavored waters in the grocery store.
- Carry a reusable water bottle throughout the day.
- Sip throughout the day instead of only drinking at snack or mealtimes.
- Record your fluid intake in a food journal or app.
- Set a drink alarm to remind yourself to sip throughout the day.
- Remember to drink before, after, and during exercise.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables!
Beverages are just as important to your day as your meals and snacks. Drinking water and other beverages are our main source of hydration but there are a number of hydrating foods that contribute to our daily water intake. Snack on melons, berries, celery or other hydrating foods. Hydration is important year-round but especially in the warmer summer months. Reach for not only water but hydrating foods as well!