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Nothing satisfies thirst better than a tall glass of cold water. During the summer you may be more aware of drinking enough fluids to prevent dehydration. Staying well hydrated when it's hot is definitely a must; however, hydration is important to your health year round. Read on to learn about how much fluid you need to stay healthy and which fluids you should choose most often.
Fluid is essential! It has many important roles. Fluids help to:
Dehydration is when you lose more fluid than you take in. Below are some of the signs of dehydration:
You may be dehydrated even if you don’t have any of the signs so it is important to drink fluids often even before you feel thirsty.
The amount of fluids you need depends on your age, gender and level of physical activity. Remember that you will need even more fluids to stay hydrated in hot weather and when you are physically active.
Use the chart below as a guide to how much fluid you should aim to have each day. Keep in mind that your total fluid intake can include water as well as milk, coffee, tea and juice. Coffee and tea are not dehydrating.
*1 cup = 250 mL
No. Research shows that drinking less than eight glasses of water per day does not lead to negative health effects. The amount of water that a person needs to drink every day is different for everyone. What is most important is that you drink enough fluids to avoid dehydration. Your fluid intake can include water as well as a variety of other fluids.
Check your thirst - If you are thirsty or have a dry mouth, it is likely that you are not drinking enough. Aim to drink fluids often throughout the day. Remember that once you are thirsty, you are already somewhat dehydrated.
Check your urine - If your urine is a dark yellow colour and has a strong smell, you may not be getting enough fluids. Urine that is light yellow or clear in colour usually means that you are drinking enough fluids. The amount of urine you make can also be a sign of your hydration status. If you do not make much urine throughout the day and it is dark in colour, you likely need more fluids.
Check your mood – If you feel light headed and tired, are not able to focus or have many headaches, these could be signs that you are dehydrated.
Drinking liquids throughout the day is especially important for older adults. Dehydration can lead to dizziness, fainting and low blood pressure which may put older adults at risk for falls. Dehydration may also make constipation worse.
To meet your fluid needs throughout the day, choose water most often. Remember that other fluids like milk, coffee, tea and juice also count towards your daily fluid intake. Try to avoid soft drinks and limit drinks with caffeine to 3 cups per day. Remember to drink even more fluids when you are active and during hot weather.
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