Next month (March) is National Nutrition Month! So, my hospital/director wants to put out a nutrition article each week. Here’s one that I wrote up. Enjoy…
Did you get your 8 cups of water today? A simple question that says so much more!
“Water is your body’s principal chemical component and makes up about 60 percent of your body weight. Every system in your body depends on water. For example, water flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells, and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues.”
Something that most people have heard of or at least familiar with is the “8 by 8” rule. This is the rule that one should drink 8 cups of 8 ounce water a day. A good rule to go by, but this really does not have any studies to back it up. If you drink 8 cups (8 ounces each), that comes out to about 1.9 liters. The Institute of Medicine has determined that the adequate intake of water for men is 13 cups (3 liters) and 9 cups (2.2 liters) for women.
You are probably thinking now, “8 cups doesn’t meet the recommendation.” Well, many of the foods we eat and drink, other than water, also contain water. The 8 by 8 rule should be seen as part of getting to that goal of 13 cups or 9 cups for the day. Think of it as an addition to your normal diet because on average, it will provide about 20% of your overall fluid needs.
Once again, these are recommendations and the needs of a person will vary depending on certain things. Do you exercise? How long and intense are your workouts? Do you live in a hot or humid area? Are you pregnant? Are you sick or have certain health conditions?
If you work out, you might want to increase those 8 cups by 1.5 to 2.5 cups and if you are doing long and intense workouts, consider sports drinks to help replace the sodium that was lost through sweat. As for the climate of where you live, hot and humid weather may cause a person to sweat more. So, an increase in water might be beneficial. Last, but not least is if you are pregnant or breast feeding. If this is the case you might want to increase your cups to 10 per day or if breastfeeding up to 13 cups per day.
When it comes to being sick, you might need more fluid because of fever, diarrhea, or vomiting. However, depending on certain conditions, fluids might need to be reduced or restricted because of heart failure or kidney disease. If this is the case, consult your healthcare provider.
Despite following the 8 by 8 rule you might be asking yourself, “Am I drinking enough water?” Well, a couple of simple ways to tell is if you rarely feel thirsty throughout the day or if your urine is colorless or light yellow.