Staying Hydrated

Water is one of the body’s most essential nutrients. During the summer, with hot and humid weather, hydration needs increase. How much fluid is needed every day, depends on an individual’s age, sex and activity level. To keep the body hydrated, aim for a daily fluid intake of about 3 L (12 cups) for men and 2.2 L (9 cups) for women, 19 years old and over. Choose water as your primary beverage, but other fluids can contribute to your overall intake, including milk, juice, broth or soups, coffee and tea.

The body loses water through sweating, breathing and washroom breaks. If the body loses more fluid than is consumed, dehydrated can occur. Signs and symptoms of dehydration include, thirst, dry mouth, fatigue, headache, dizziness, irritability, low blood pressure, fainting, increased in heart rate, and dark urine. We can become dehydrated even before these warning signs appear. Therefore, it is important to drink fluids regularly, even before feeling thirsty. Staying well hydrated when it’s hot is definitely a must however, hydration is important to health year-round. Keep your hydrating in check by monitoring your thirst, the colour of your urine, and your mood.

Fluids help people stay healthy and energized. Fluids also aid in digestion, cushioning joints and organs, controlling body temperature, eliminating waste, keeping bowels regular, maintaining blood pressure, and moving nutrients through the body. Enjoying water with meals and snacks and keeping water nearby when at work, school, or out and about, are great ways to meet fluid requirements. The bottom line is to be aware of fluid intake, and keep a bottle of water within reach. This will make it easy to increase your fluid intake.

Resources: Dietitians of Canada, Eat Right Ontario

Written by Hilary Rock BSc, Nutrition

Reviewed by Andrea Miller MHSc, RD