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Sips of Summer: The Value of Hydration

By Jenna DeMoss

Corporate Hy-Vee Dietitian

Are you drinking enough water?

To figure out how much water you need each day, take your body weight in pounds and divide that in half – that’s how many ounces of water per day that you should be drinking for your body to function properly. For example, a 150 lb. person needs 75 ounces of water per day. You need even more water if you exercise, have a very active job or if you work outside in the heat. When you sweat and breath, you lose tiny droplets of water and all of that needs to be replenished. Other liquids can contribute to your water intake (i.e. milk, coffee, tea), but water should be the main liquid you drink throughout the day.

Every system in our body needs water: It regulates our body temperature, helps eliminate waste, carries nutrients and oxygen to our cells, helps lubricate our joints and keeps our organs functioning properly. Water is crucial for our immune system, quality of sleep, memory and our mood. If a person is just 5 percent dehydrated, he or she will feel sluggish and may experience a lower mood and concentration level.

Infusing water with fruit and herbs is a refreshing way to make drinking water more exciting, and perhaps help you reach your daily water goal. To enjoy a refreshing strawberries and thyme combination, here’s all you do:

• Add 7 sliced strawberries and 3 sprigs of thyme to 1 quart of water. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight for a more intense flavor.

• Strawberries are high in vitamin C, which helps support our immune system, and thyme is known for its herbal calming properties.

Another wonderful “spa-like” combo is lemon and cucumber. To make this, here’s all you do:

• Slice ½ cucumber and ½ lemon and add them to 1 quart of water. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight for a more intense flavor.

• Cucumber are high in water themselves with an earthy flavor, and lemon is high in vitamin C and is a gentle diuretic which helps “cleanse” the body.

Another tip to help you stay hydrated: Eat fruits and vegetables that have a high water content such as cucumbers, watermelon, pineapple, iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, blueberries, broccoli, cantaloupe, grapefruit and pears. This is yet another benefit of eating fruits and vegetables each and every day.

If you’re drinking enough water – congrats! Keep up the good work! If you’re not drinking enough water, think about what steps you could take to accomplish this. You could fill a pitcher with water and your favorite fruit or veggie and herb combo, place it in the fridge and set a goal to have consumed your recommended amount by the end of the day. Or keep your favorite water bottle available and decide how many times you need to drink and re-fill it throughout the day. Write down your goal and track how many days you achieve that goal. Make it fun! Involve your friends or family in your endeavors.

Enjoy summertime and soak up the heat – but remember to provide and replenish your body with all-so-important water.

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