The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

October 3, 2012

Any time, thirsty time

By Dr. Christina Adams for the SNAP

Wednesday, October 3, 2012 — Giving water to your lawn and garden, the houseplant and the pets is natural. But what about your need for water?

“Water is in every cell of the body, so getting plenty of fluids every day is essential for good health,” said Dr. Christi-na Adams of Albemarle Medical Services.   

“Water helps regulate body temperature, cushions and lubricates join-ts, protects sensitive tissues and assists the digestive system.”

Ordinarily, people can meet their need for water by drinking when they are thirsty and consuming fluids with meals. However, with hot weather, vigorous physical activity or an illness, your body needs even more water.

Replacing lost fluids to avoid becoming dehydrated is essential. You need water to replace what your body loses through daily functions, such as sweating, going to the bathroom and exhaling.  

Dry mouth, weakness and dizziness are among the symptoms of dehydration. In athletes, dehydration may also lead to muscle cramps.  

Being thirsty is a signal that your body is already on the way to being dehydrated. Thus, drinking fluids even before signs of thirst appear is important. Adams suggests that you should also drink more than your thirst demands.

When quenching your thirst, take care in choosing what you drink. While beverages such as soda and sports drinks do contain water, they are also high in sugar and calories.  

You can enhance the taste of water by adding a wedge of lemon or lime.

In addition to water, other healthy choices for keeping well-hydrated include:

Fat-free or low-fat milk;

Unsweetened, 100 percent fruit juices;

Unsweetened iced tea or coffee;

Fruits and vegetables with high water content, such as watermelons, grapefruits, apples, lettuce, broccoli, and carrots.

“Individual water needs vary depending on factors such as physical activity, exposure to heat and age,” said Adams.  

“Some people need to restrict fluids because of health conditions. Be sure to talk with your doctor about the amount of water you need to consume each day.”