Hydration is essential. This ain’t news. But do you know if you are truly staying hydrated throughout the day? How much water should you be drinking? And what counts towards your hydration goals? Let’s talk about what it means to be hydrated first.
Humans are mostly water
Our bodies are made up of about 60% water with a delicate balance of electrolytes to water that needs to be carefully maintained. Luckily for us, our body does most of the hard yards here, keeping the fragile equilibrium intact.
Our job? Keeping up the fluids so our bodily systems can keep working. Almost every system within our body needs proper hydration to stay functioning.
Drinking water helps our body to maintain a healthy metabolism, control our body temperature, remove waste and sustain healthy blood pressure and heart rate.
How much water do we need?
The adage of eight glasses a day is a reasonable goal for most healthy people, but as with most things, it does depend on your circumstances.
The best way to tell if you’re staying hydrated is to check the colour of your urine. You’re looking for a pale straw to clear colour – any darker and you need to up your fluids.
Your environment affects your fluid needs quite drastically. In hot climates or if you’re physically active you’ll need to up the intake. Air conditioning and heating can also mean you become dehydrated quicker.
Which fluids count towards hydration?
Our best source of hydration is, of course, water and plenty of it. But what other fluids count?
Old wisdom will tell you that drinks such as tea and coffee will cause you to become dehydrated. But while these fluids are diuretics, recent studies have shown that a cup of tea or coffee won’t dehydrate you as much as previously thought.
A study found that disregarding, “caffeinated beverages as part of the daily fluid intake is not substantiated.” This means your tea or coffee counts towards your daily hydration goals.
While water is best, sports drinks, juices and things like coconut water do count. We just have to be careful of the amount of sugar and other hidden ingredients in these beverages.