Staying hydrated during the hot days of summer can be a challenge. But health experts say it's important to make the effort.
Why is hydration so important? "Sixty percent of our body is made up of water. It is in every cell of our body," said Dr. Drew Oliveira, Senior Executive Medical Director for Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah.
Dr. Olivera said sometimes thirst can be mistaken for hunger, causing extra snacking and even overeating. Drinking a glass of water before every meal can be a great trick to help keep off those extra pounds.
Making sure you have enough fluid in your system can also improve your sleep, cognition and mood. But how much water should we be drinking per day? Dr. Olivera said it should be about 16 glasses.
That can sound daunting for many, but you don't have to only drink water to hit your target. "It can be soups. It can be coffee or tea. It can be fruits, vegetables. There are lots of ways we can get hydration," Olivera said.
Keep in mind that soda and other sugary drinks won't cut it when it comes to proper hydration. "I don't recommend milk or milkshakes, and also things like sweet soda pops. The reason is that those sweet fluids can actually suppress our thirst and certainly lead to other problems with having too many calories," Olivera said.
Don't forget that during the scorching days of summer, you need to drink more. "When it’s hot outside, when you’re sweating more or exercising more. Those can all lead to relative dehydration where we actually may suppress our thirst, but also have dry skin, maybe GI disturbances, and has an impact on our major organs," Olivera said.
When you are sick, that can also lead to dehydration, which could eventually lead to kidney strain and even seizures. Dr. Olivera says no matter what do what you can to stay hydrated. Your body will thank you.
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