Spring is here, and everyone is getting outside. That means you will be working, playing, and exercising harder than ever. It is important to remember to drink plenty of water and hydrate your body. But what does that actually mean?
We know that every cell in your body needs fluid to function, and even mild dehydration can make you irritable and foggy-headed. But take a minute to read what is fact and what is fiction when it comes to putting fluids into your body.
Myth 1: Water will curb my appetite
Fact: False – plain water can empty out your stomach rather quickly. However, eating soup or other water rich food at the start of a meal will fill you up and help you consume fewer calories. As with everything, it can be mind over matter.
Myth 2: You can mistake thirst for hunger
Fact: No, your body knows the difference. People snack for many reasons, such as boredom, stress, habit – usually other then thirst. Studies have shown that being thirsty makes you less hungry. The body sensations are much different. When you are low on water, your blood volume decreases and you get a dry feeling in your mouth. On the other hand, hunger is driven by hormones, nutrients, and glucose and a general feeling of emptiness. So watch out for these cues, and eat or drink as needed. If you are bored or stressed, get up and do something productive to take your mind off of eating.
Myth 3: We are all chronically dehydrated
Fact: Not if you are eating a proper diet. Moisture in the food you eat gives you 20% of the fluid you eat. Fill up on fruits and vegetables, and drink when you are thirsty. Especially good for you are cucumbers (97% water), cauliflower (92% water), and strawberries (91% water).
Myth 4: You need to drink 64 ounces of water per day
Fact: That is a random number. Researchers have estimated that a healthy female should get about 90 ounces of water from food and beverages per day, but you might need more if you live in a hot climate, exercise excessively, or are pregnant. The best advice is to follow your own thirst cues. Drink when you are thirsty, and your urine is a pale yellow.
Myth 5: You should drink a lot during exercise
Fact: Listen to your body cues. There is such a thing as overhydration – hyponatremia. With this, the sodium level in your blood gets from drinking too many volumes of liquid. A rule of thumb: weigh yourself before and after exercising, and drink 16 ounces for every pound lost.
Be healthy, be happy!