Summer is in full swing, the weather is warm, and many are taking to the water to keep cool. Whether you’re swimming, fishing, or water skiing, water is perfect for all kinds of fun activities. It is also perfect for something even more important—your health. In fact, water may be one of the most important parts of a healthy diet.
Water’s Role in Your Body
Water has no calories and few vitamins and minerals. So why would it be one of the most important parts of a healthy diet? Well for starters, it makes up more than 60 percent of the body’s total weight. It is also needed for just about everything your body does.
Water plays a major role in helping your body:
- Break down food into nutrients, absorb nutrients, and transport nutrients
- Build and support tissue
- Maintain healthy blood flow and blood volume
- Get rid of waste products and toxins
- Control body temperature
- Lubricate the joints
Amount of Water
So how much water do you need each day? Adults need about one cup of water daily for every 20 pounds of body weight. This equals eight cups of water a day for a 160-pound person.
While that may seem like a lot, keep in mind that you are losing water all of the time. In fact, every time you breathe, you lose a bit of water from evaporation. You also lose water in your urine and stool. And, of course, you lose water when you sweat.
In hot summer months, or when you are physically active, you likely sweat more than normal. And you should drink more to make up for the extra water loss. Aim for an extra 2.5 cups of water. This is true even when you are engaging in water sports. You may overlook how much water you are losing to sweat when you are surrounded by water. But it’s just as important to stay hydrated when you’re running around on the beach as when you are running around a track.
Good Sources of Water
While it’s hard to beat plain H2O, there are other ways to get the water you need. Here are a few other sources you may want to try:
- Sugar-free sparkling water (plain or flavored)
- Tap or bottled water with a squeeze of lemon or lime
- Caffeine-free herbal teas
- Juice spritzers made with carbonated water and juice
You may not realize it, but you also get water from the foods you eat. Water is especially abundant in fruits and veggies.
- Watermelon is over 90 percent water!
- Apples, blueberries, peaches, and oranges are 80–85 percent water.
- The water content in veggies can range from 70 percent all the way up to 97 percent. Veggies that are on the high end of this range include celery and lettuce.
Enjoy the last few weeks of summer. Keep cool, have fun, and stay hydrated.