Hydration is the restoration of bodily fluids that are lost by sweating, breathing, and removing waste. Up to 2-3 quarts of water are lost daily and require replacement. There are several foods that are mostly composed of water. Some of them include watermelon, strawberries, skim milk, cucumber, lettuce, and plain yoghurt. While all these are known to prevent dehydration, the best source of hydration is drinking water.
A person can last up to six weeks without food, but only a week without water, and not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration. Dehydration can cause our body to perform less efficiently. It can also affect our mood and reduce productivity.
How about if we drink too much water?
Over-hydration is a situation that occurs when the amount of salt and other electrolytes in our body become too diluted due to overconsumption of water. Over-hydration can also occur if our body holds on to more fluid than our kidneys can remove.
To prevent dehydration or over-hydration, it is important to know our hydration status. Urine is usually a good indicator of hydration. Darker urine tends to indicate dehydration while colorless urine indicates over-hydration. A pale-yellow urine is an indicator of good hydration.
A few tips to increase hydration include drinking a glass of water or lemon water in the morning, drinking water regularly throughout the day, and drinking 1-2 cups of fluid 30 minutes prior to exercising and every 25 minutes while exercising. It is also recommended not to wait until you get thirsty to drink water, as that can be an indication of dehydration. Other substitutes for water that can increase hydration include herbal tea, lemon water and vegetable broth.
Writer: Hermela Abraham
Editor: Kaitlyn Longstaff
Public Health Scientist: LaCher E-W, MPH